Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 5, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 5

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Promise Fulfilled”


In Luke’s first recorded letter to Theophilus (Luke 1:3), he wrote the words of Jesus concerning God’s Promise of power. This was just before Christ ascended to heaven 40 days after His crucifixion (Luke 24:49). In Luke’s follow-up letter to Theophilus (Acts 1:1) he continued with this same thought. The promise of power was to come with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).


Ten days had elapsed between the ascension of Jesus into heaven and the outpouring to the Spirit on Pentecost. During that ten-day period the disciples repented and made things right between themselves. The sacrifice of Christ, the great center of attraction, reconciled His disciples to each other. While this was occurring on earth, the inauguration of Christ was proceeding in heaven according to God’s everlasting plan.


The inauguration of Christ as Priest, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the unity of the disciples was foreshadowed in the typical ceremony of Aaron as he was inaugurated into the priesthood. This is recorded in Psalm 133:1, 2 (see also Wednesday’s note from The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39).


On the Day of Pentecost, Sivan 6, 31 A.D., the power of the Holy Spirit was first exhibited in the gift of languages. There were at least 16 different language and dialect groups of Jews at the Feast of Pentecost, who lived in various countries of the world. These Jews attending the Feast of Pentecost heard the gospel spoken with power in their own language (Acts 2:3-11). Those who heard were moved by what they heard. Some believed, but some accused the apostles of drunkenness (vss. 12-13). Peter denied this and said this was a manifestation of God’s power and that it was a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit under the figure of the former rain.


This promise of power was to reside with God’s people until the second advent of Jesus. For most of the intervening time between Pentecost and the return of the Lord the Holy Spirit was shut out of the Christian church as history records. There were times, however, when He broke through to those who hungered for righteousness. These times are also recorded in sacred history. We have read of the work of the Holy Spirit among the Wandensians, in the various Reformers, and in the Millerite Movement when that message went to every missionary station in the world (see The Great Controversy [GC], p. 611).


Joel also spoke of the promise of the power of God under the figure of the latter rain. A.T. Jones, in comparing the power of 1844 with the latter rain message, cited Ellen White as follows: “... this will come as suddenly as it did in '44, and with ‘ten times the power’” (1893 General Conference Bulletin,  “The Third Angel’s Message, No. 7,” Feb. 5, 1893).


In September of 1852, Ellen White wrote, “I saw the latter rain was coming as the midnight cry, and with ten times the power” (Spaulding and Magan Collection, p. 4).


Just as the former rain announced the beginning of the gospel under the mediatorial work of Jesus in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, so the latter rain will announce His closing cleansing work in the second apartment. This message will prepare those who believe it to face and to live through the time of trouble, and to stand in the presence of Christ when He returns.


God’s fulfilled promise will be fulfilled again. Both the former rain and the latter rain will be poured out upon earth in superhuman streams of mercy from the springs of heaven. A worldwide work of proclaiming the everlasting gospel is presented in Revelation 14:6-12; 18:1-4. This gospel will go to “every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” (14:6). For this to be accomplished, the gift of tongues or languages will again be manifested among God’s people for the express purpose of proclaiming with power the “everlasting gospel” to the various language groups of the world.


“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold” (GC 611).


“In this illumination [of Revelation 18:1], the light of all the three messages is combined”  (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 804).


“John saw ‘Another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the whole earth was lightened with his glory.’ Rev. 19:1 [18:1]. That work is the voice of the people of God proclaiming a message of warning to the world. Has God, through John, given us light relating to the things which are to transpire in the remnant of time just at the end? Then with pen and voice we are to proclaim that very message to the world, not in a tame, indistinct whisper” (Ibid., pp., 926, 927).


All this would have been fulfilled within a few short years after the Minneapolis meeting in 1888. In heaven we will study this, and that which would have been had the “Loud Cry” message been received fully at that time. Are we any more prepared than they? Has the reconciling message of the gospel reconciled us to one another? Are we prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in both former and latter rain power? God is ready to fulfill His Promise of power. The world is ready, for it is about to self-destruct. The only element that remains to be readied is God’s people. Are you “willing to be made willing” for God’s will and promise to be fulfilled in you?

Gerald L. Finneman


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 4, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 4

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Promise of the Holy Spirit”


The promise of the Holy Spirit is probably the most important promise that has ever been made to the world. Without the Holy Spirit nothing that we as Christians endeavor to accomplish in the name of the Lord will be of any great success.


The Promise of the Coming Comforter:

Through Ezekiel the Lord has promised that He would accomplish marvelous things in His people (Eze. 36:25-27). The Lord told us that by His Spirit, He will cleanse His people from all unrighteousness. By faith in His promises, we will become commandment-keepers, overcoming all sin prior to His second coming. This is a necessary corollary to the final cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the completion of our High Priest’s work.


“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times” (The Great Controversy, p. 464). We long for this experience, but there’s a preparation to be made before God can bestow this blessing upon us.


Prerequisites for Receiving the Holy Spirit:

Our Quarterly stated in Wednesday’s lesson: “Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working was the outpouring of the Spirit received..... though Christ gave them this wonderful promise, they had to be prepared to receive it. Is it any different today for us?”


Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early rain, the disciples experienced a soul-shaking cleansing. Before they could be fit vessels for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they first had to experience the cleansing fire that removed the dross that stood between them and God. For ten intense days moved by the Holy Spirit the disciples humbled themselves in true repentance and searched their innermost souls, confessing to God their sins of unbelief. Seeking union between all the brethren they set aside personal differences and contentions. True selfless love for one another transformed their characters (see Acts of the Apostles, pp. 36, 37).


When God Attempted to Fulfill His Promise to Us:

Just as the disciples prayed for the outpouring of the early rain, at the end of this earth’s history, we are praying for the outpouring of the latter rain. The disciples needed the power of the Holy Spirit before they could do the work of evangelism that Jesus assigned to them as He departed from them: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). However, the Holy Spirit could not benefit them until their hearts were transformed. They needed that “teacher of righteousness” promised by Joel (see 2:23). We need Him, too, before we can hope to fulfill our commission that will culminate in the “loud cry” of that mighty forth angel of Revelation 18.


A.T. Jones explained this clearly at the 1893 General Conference. Speaking on the passage in Joel he said: “The 23d verse says: ‘Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain, moderately.’ What is the margin? ‘A teacher of righteousness.’.... And when He gives the latter rain, what will it be? ‘A teacher of righteousness.’ How? ‘According to righteousness.’ Then is not that just what the testimony has told us in that article that has been read to you several times? ‘The loud cry of the third angel,’ the latter rain has already begun, ‘in the message of the righteousness of Christ.’”


Jones went on to pinpoint the time when the Lord in His great mercy attempted to give us the needed “refreshing”: “Now brethren, when did that message of the righteousness of Christ, begin with us as a people?.... [Congregation: ‘Minneapolis.’] What then did the brethren reject at Minneapolis? [Some in the congregation: ‘The loud cry.’] What is that message of righteousness? The Testimony has told us what it is; the loud cry—the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain—the loud cry of the third angel’s message” (1893 General Conference Bulletin, pp. 182, 183; The Third Angel’s Message, 1893, pp. 68, 69).


The Holy Spirit Insulted:

Our Sabbath School lesson author, Elder Arnold Wallenkampf, saw the necessity of every Seventh-day Adventist understanding this history when he wrote his little book titled, What Every Adventist Should Know About 1888. After quoting numerous statements from Ellen White, he summarized by saying:


“The sum total of these anguished pronouncements by the Lord’s servant tells us that at the Minneapolis conference the Holy Spirit was not only resisted but cruelly treated. This cruelty manifested itself in hard, proud, sneering speeches against God’s special messengers, Jones and Waggoner. The speakers did not realize that their hard words were aimed at Christ Himself. When the attendees despised the Lord’s messengers, they insulted the Spirit of God” (p. 40).


Our first lesson in this quarter explained that the Holy Spirit is definitely a real, divine Person. He can be insulted and grieved. When we insult and grieve a human being, it is necessary for us to recognize our guilt, repent, and make amends, if possible. It follows that we, as a corporate body, should be seeking to correct our sin of resisting and insulting the Holy Spirit when we rejected and insulted Him at Minneapolis in 1888.


Our lesson author stated: “It is possible for you and me to break the connection with God by driving the Holy Spirit away from us so that He cannot convict us of sin. Without conviction there can be no repentance and hence no forgiveness.....The Spirit is meek and humble. He does not hold a grudge..... But He will not tolerate obstinate evil” (New by the Spirit, p. 111; RHPA, 2006).


“Without the historical Calvary there could have been no historical Pentecost [early rain]. Likewise, unless there is a personal or experiential Calvary, there will be no experiential Pentecost [latter rain]. Only as we crucify all self-interest can we receive the fullness of the infilling of the Holy Spirit” (ibid., p. 57).

Ann Walper


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Friday, April 14, 2006

1888 Message Conferences & Seminars

Conferences and Seminars

Where the 1888 Message Will Be Presented



April 14, 15 (Friday evening, all day Sabbath)

Lakeport Seventh-day Adventist Church

1111 Park Way, Lakeport, California

Topic: The Best Good News You’ve Ever Heard

Speaker: Robert J. Wieland

For information: (707) 263-6002


May 5, 6 (Friday evening, all day Sabbath)

Hayward Seventh-day Adventist Church

26400 Gading Road, Hayward CA 94544

Topic: The New Covenant in the Old Testament

Speaker: Robert J. Wieland

For information: (510) 782-3422


May 18-21 (Thursday evening -Sunday noon)

Meadow Vista Seventh-day Adventist Church

1461 Meadow Vista Road, Meadow Vista CA 95722

Topic: The Elijah Message and 1888

Speakers: Elder Ricardo Graham, Executive Secretary, Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Robert J. Wieland; Paul Penno; Dan Peters

For information: (530) 477-0390


July 23-27 (each afternoon)

Redwood Camp Meeting

2437 Dyerville Loop Road, Redcrest, CA

Workshop on the 1888 Message

Speaker: Paul Penno


July 25-29 (Tuesday evening-Saturday night)

1888 Message National Conference

Columbia Union College

7600 Flower Ave., Takoma Park, MD

Theme: Lighten Your World With His Glory: Studies in the Book of Ephesians

Speakers: John W. Peters, Gerald L. Finneman, Robert J. Wieland, Joe Gresham, Edgar Vyhmeister, and others

Programs for Children and Youth

For information: (269) 473-1888


September 1-3 (Friday evening-Sunday noon)

Valley Center Seventh-day Adventist Church

14919 Fruitvale Road, Valley Center, CA

Speaker: Robert J. Wieland

For information: (909) 824-5046


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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 3, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 3

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“Jesus and the Holy Spirit”


Our Sabbath School lesson is about the Holy Spirit: let’s be practical—and learn to let Him lead us! Let me tell how He has led me thus far. Those who believe have the “Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;.... for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). It is my conviction that the Holy Spirit bearing witness with my spirit led me to the message of 1888. Hence, abandoning the traditional method of writing the Insight, allow me a personal testimony of the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life.


I grew up in an agnostic (non-believing) home where there was an environment of dissension. I wanted to get as far away as possible, so immediately after High School I joined the Navy and continued on a course of destruction. Before being discharged I was invited to a Sunday-keeping charismatic church and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. My heart was melted and my face was aglow with the radiance of the Holy Spirit’s drawing power. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).


The Lord did not keep me in that church, but led me to a book called The Great Controversy, a worldwide “historical” view of the church and its teachings. “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you all things to come” (John 16:13). My Sunday-keeping friends ridiculed this seemingly false prophet and the message she proclaimed. I had to stand alone, “obeying truth through the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:22). Not long after, someone saw me with The Great Controversy clutched in my hand and invited me to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which I have been attending for over 20 years.


Seven years ago, while going through struggles due largely because of misconceived representations of the gospel, I began studying the book of Romans. Two powerful gospel truths were opened up, which brought me to the foot of the cross. Unbeknownst to me, these truths were sent to “us” over 100 years ago by way of two “messengers,” A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. Ellen White stated, “In Minneapolis God gave precious gems of truth to His people in new settings” (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 518).


1. Christ’s sacrifice is not merely provisional but effective for the whole world. His sacrifice has legally justified “all men,” and has literally saved the world (Rom. 3:23, 24; 5:15-18). God’s gracious gift has come upon all men and if we do not resist will be saved at last. It is not my initiative (the popular view) but “the grace of God that brings salvation” and “has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).


2. Christ came all the way to where we are, taking upon Himself our fallen, sinful nature, being tempted in all points as all humans. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3). He is not “afar off” but nearest of kin, “nigh at hand.” “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest … For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:17, 18).


My joy was so great that I started sharing Christ and Him crucified through a deeper revelation of His unfailing love for me and the world. It was the “love of Christ that constrained me” (see 2 Cor. 5:14) to share the gospel with brothers and sisters at church. What do you suppose happened? My wife and I had to stand alone when the pastor reviled us in front of the whole congregation. We sheepishly left the building not understanding why there was such resistance to this good news. The next Sabbath my wife and I decided to attend another church, and noticed in the bulletin that the subject of prayer meeting was the humanity of Christ. We attended, and the pastor was teaching on the “nearness of our Savior” and how, at the cross, “by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18, KJV). After the meeting I asked the pastor why there was resistance where we previously attended, and he directed me to a book, 1888 Re-examined, which gives an account of our 1888 history. “The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 106).


We need not be ashamed or grieved that the “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. … This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure” (1888 Materials, pp. 1336, 1337).


Self has gotten in the way too often, and I have hesitated to share when opportunities arose because I was afraid of rejection. We can gather courage and strength from the One who understands us better than we understand ourselves. “He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isa. 53:3). This revelation can be a comfort of epic proportions in light of our own 1888 history, bringing us reassurance when the Lord calls upon us to share it.


Ellen White sounded encouragement for those who will believe. In the aftermath of the Minneapolis rejection she said, “I was encouraged to stand firmly against the human impulses that were bearing strongly against [the] light and truth which the Lord had for this time for His people. I was told that, comparatively, I should stand almost alone; but I was not alone, for His Spirit was moving upon many hearts who were like-minded with the Spirit of God. [God said to me], ‘I have a testimony for you to bear before My people who are hungering for truth. Be not of a doubtful heart, neither be discouraged. My word shall be as a hammer to break the flinty hearts. Be zealous only for the honor of God’” (1888 Materials, pp. 315, 316).


May we respond to the Spirit of Jesus from a heart filled with the self-sacrificing love of God. Let self be hid, ready to share the gospel—even our 1888 history. Are you not blessed because someone shared it with you? I am! That blessing is meant for others too.

John Sheffield


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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 2, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 2

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Holy Spirit Symbolized in Scripture”


Last week we discovered that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Divine Trio of the Godhead. He possesses a personality as real as that of Jesus Christ. He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) and insulted (Heb. 10:29) just as the Father and the Son can be emotionally churned in their inmost being (Hosea 11:8). This week we discover that the characteristics and work of the Holy Spirit are symbolized in a number of different ways as our Sabbath School Quarterly points out. However one of the “symbols” not mentioned in connection with the Holy Spirit is that of a Helper (parakletos).


Helper and Light

We often think of the Holy Spirit as a gift to those who believe. But He in effect is a gift to the world. In this capacity He is known as a Helper to convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus. The work of the Holy Spirit whether for the believer or unbeliever always centers on Jesus. The Helper convicts the world of righteousness because Jesus said, “I go to My Father.” He convicts the world of judgment because Jesus said, “the ruler of this world is judged” (see John 16:7-11). In this capacity even the heathen who have never heard the name of Jesus may respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and begin to exhibit the characteristics of the Light that lighteth every man that comes into the world. This is the goal of the Holy Spirit’s mission into the world.


For those who have responded to the Holy Spirit’s work upon their hearts and have come to Jesus just as they are, all polluted and corrupt, He begins His mighty work of regeneration. But this work can never reach its culmination, the restoration of the image of God in fallen flesh—the mind of Christ, unless there is a heart and mind understanding and appreciation of the truth of the gospel.


The Holy Spirit will always cast the glory of man in the dust with the realization that God chose us, predestined us, adopted us, and elected us in Christ by virtue incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Upon this realization the sinner can choose to remain as part of the first Adam who condemned the human race, or choose to unite with the second Adam who brought justification of life to the fallen race of men. The question that the Holy Spirit always brings to the mind of the sinner is: “What are you going to do with the gift of God’s own Son?”


“By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved” (The Desire of Ages, p. 675).


Dove and Water

Now the work of the Holy Spirit begins in earnest upon the heart of the believer. He works as gentle as a dove to reveal unwanted character traits and begins the process of growth in the grace of Jesus Christ. This cleansing process is applied by the Holy Spirit through the washing of water by the word. The word can only accomplish its cleansing function through the agency of the Holy Spirit applied to the receptive heart and mind. Those who are thus transformed day by day become enabled to show forth and share that which they have received and from them “shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).



We must recognize that we are living in the time of end and specifically in the cosmic heavenly Day of Atonement. All heaven is astir and energized waiting to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work upon the church. Will the Bride be willing to make herself ready and go to the wedding underway in the Most Holy Place? Those who are willing to unite with Christ in His closing work as High Priest in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary will develop a perfect hatred for sin through the agency of the Holy Spirit. They will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. They will be participants with Christ in the prophecy and prediction of enmity toward Satan spoken in Eden.


“We are to know the meaning of the words: ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ The enmity that exists in the heart against evil has no natural existence, but is an enmity that has been created through the agency of the Holy Spirit. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name’” (Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894).


This enmity toward sin will manifest itself in all of life’s actions. They will be repulsed by even the thought speaking harsh, vindictive words or harboring even the trace of bitterness, retaliation, or hard feelings. Those who have gone to the wedding will recoil at the slightest entrance of temptation because of the enmity created through the agency of the Holy Spirit. This message of righteousness by faith in the context of the Day of Atonement to prepare a people for translation was a unique feature of the 1888 message brought by Jones and Waggoner and endorsed by Ellen White.


Seal and Guarantee

The answer to the question of whether one is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise will be self evident in this cosmic heavenly Day of Atonement. Those having gone to the wedding will be repulsed and recoil at the slightest presence of sin because the Holy Spirit will have created a supernatural enmity toward sin in the heart of those who have received the guarantee of their inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14).

John W. Peters


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