For the October to December lessons of 2022
Pick up the Ellen White notes on Death, Dying and the Future Hope,
and the companion book for the quarter on
our index page for the fourth quarter 2022.
And do come join us for discussing the daily lessons on the blog.
The Book of Job
Sabbath School Lesson Begins
Lesson 2 October 1-7
Read for This Week's Study: Job 1:1-5, Job 1:6-12, Zech. 3:2, Matt. 4:1, Ezek. 28:12-16, Rom. 3:26, Heb. 2:14.
Memory Text: "And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zechariah 3:2).
Scattered across the pages of both the [Old Testament] and the [New Testament] lie many references and allusions to an unrelenting war between God and Satan, between good and evil on both cosmic and personal levels. Comparing these passages, we inlay their individual insights to form a mosaic window of truth through which we can perceive the total message of Scripture with greater clarity than otherwise."-The Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2000), p. 969.
The great controversy theme forms a template that can help us better understand "the total message" of the Bible, especially the plan of salvation. Though the theme is much more apparent in the New Testament, it is found in the Old Testament, too. And perhaps nowhere in the Old Testament are we given a clearer glimpse of Satan and this conflict, and how they can powerfully affect life here, than in the book of Job.
This week we'll look at the broader reality behind this immediate reality that's the main focus of Job. And though our lives and stories are different from Job's, we have one thing in common: like Job, we are all involved in this controversy.
Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 8.
Sunday October 2
Read Job 1:1-4. What do the texts reveal about the kind of life that Job lived? What were the positive aspects of Job's existence?
Job certainly seems to have it all, including a righteous character. The word translated in Job 1:1 as "blameless" (NIV) comes from a word that can mean "complete" or "full of integrity." The word for "upright" means "straight," which can give the idea of walking on a straight path. In short, the book opens with an almost Eden-like scene depicting a wealthy man of faithfulness and integrity who has it all.
Nevertheless, he has it all in a fallen world.
Read Job 1:5, 6. What do these texts reveal about the reality of the fallen world that Job inhabits?
"Amid the festivities of his sons and daughters, he trembled lest his children should displease God. As a faithful priest of the household, he offered sacrifices for them individually. He knew the offensive character of sin, and the thought that his children might forget the divine claims, led him to God as an intercessor in their behalf."-Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1140.
Clearly Job had it good, about as good as it can get here. As Eden-like as the scene is presented-a man with a full life, big family, a great name, and many possessions-it's still a life lived on a fallen planet steeped in sin, and so, as Job will soon see, it comes with all the dangers that existence here brings.
What are the good things in your life right now? How can you learn to be always in an attitude of thankfulness for them?
Monday October 3
However, by the sixth verse of the first chapter, the venue changes. It instantly shifts to an entirely different aspect of reality, one that is not seen by humans unless through divine revelation. And interestingly enough, this other aspect of reality, heaven, doesn't seem to be as tranquil and peaceful as things are on earth, at least in what is first presented here.
Read Job 1:6-12. Though we will study these texts in more detail later in this quarter, what is happening here? How does it contrast to what we have just seen happening with Job on earth?
There's so much to explore in these few verses. They reveal aspects of our universe that all our space telescopes don't detect and that human science doesn't even begin to fathom. What's fascinating, though, is that they also reveal a cosmic conflict. It's not a calm, peaceful, and tranquil conversation that we access in this passage. God talks about Job with (to use a human idea) a sense of pride, like a father proud of his son. Satan, in contrast, mocks what God says about Job. "So Satan answered the LORD and said, 'Does Job fear God for nothing?' "(Job 1:9, NKJV). One could almost hear a sneering sarcasm, a mocking tone in what Satan says to God.
Though the text doesn't explicitly say that this confrontation was in heaven, that's surely where it was. And thus you have this created being, an angel, standing before God in heaven and challenging Him to His face, before other "sons of God." It's hard to imagine someone talking to a worldly leader like that, but here we have a being doing so to God Himself. How could this happen?
The answer is found in a theme that appears in various places and in different ways all through the Bible. It's called the great controversy, and it provides a powerful template to help us understand not just the book of Job but the entire Bible and its explanation of the whole sad story of sin and suffering on earth. And even more important, it helps us better understand just what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross in order to solve the problem of sin and suffering on the earth.
Tuesday October 4
Read the following texts. How do they reveal the reality of a conflict being fought here on earth with evil supernatural powers?
1 Pet. 5:8
1 John 3:8
These texts are just a small sampling of numerous texts that point, either explicitly or implicitly, to a literal devil, a supernatural being with malicious intentions. Though many people view the idea of Satan as a primitive myth, with such clear Bible testimony we should not fall for this deception.
What are ways that, even now, you see the reality of Satan's work in our world? What is our only protection?
Wednesday October 5
In short, these opening verses, and the ones that follow, are a kind of miniportrayal of the great controversy itself. The verses show one way in which the great controversy, though cosmic in scale, was manifested in the life of one man, Job. And as we will see, the issues involved encompass us all.
The book of Job shows Satan in confrontation with God. What it doesn't show is how it first started. How do the following verses help us get some understanding about the controversy? Isa. 14:12-14, Ezek. 28:12-16, 1 Tim. 3:6.
Ellen G. White talked about "the law of love" as the foundation of God's government. She noted that because God does not want "forced obedience," He therefore "grants freedom of will" to all His moral creatures. However, "there was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven." - Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 34, 35. She then quoted from the texts above in Isaiah and Ezekiel to describe the fall of Satan.
The crucial concept here is the "law of love" and the reality of free will. The Bible tells us that Satan became self-exalted and proud because of His own splendor and beauty. Why this happened we don't know; it must be part of what 2 Thessalonians 2:7 calls the "the mystery of lawlessness" (NKJV), a connection that makes perfect sense when we understand how closely tied God's law is to the foundation of His government. The point is that by the time Satan is introduced in Job, his fall was past, and the controversy it had started was well under way.
What are some important choices that you are facing right now, and what Bible promises can you claim to ensure that you make the right ones?
Thursday October 6
As we saw yesterday, for example, the book of Job says nothing about how Satan's rebellion started. Also, it says nothing about how Satan is ultimately defeated in the great controversy. In fact, despite his major role in all that follows in the book-after appearing only twice in Job (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7)-Satan does not come into view again. He simply vanishes, even though the destruction that he caused remains. The rest of the book doesn't even mention him; instead, almost all that follows in the book is about God, not Satan. And that makes sense because, in the end, the book of Job is about God and what He is really like.
Nevertheless, the Bible doesn't leave us without answers to the question about the defeat of Satan in the great controversy. And central to that defeat is the death of Jesus on the cross.
How do the following texts help explain what Jesus did that will lead to the end of the great controversy? John 12:31, 32; Rev. 12:10-12; Rom. 3:26; Heb. 2:14.
At the cross, Satan was fully exposed to the universe for what he really was, a murderer. Those who knew Jesus when He reigned in heaven must have been astonished to see Him be so degraded by Satan's minions. That's the "judgment" on Satan that Jesus talked about in John 12. At the cross, when the Savior died for "the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2), only then could heaven proclaim that salvation has now come. Here and now the divine promise, made before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9), became a reality. Because of His death on our behalf, Christ could be "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26, NKJV). That is, at the cross He refuted the devil's charges that God could not uphold His law (be just) and still, at the same time, save those who have broken that law (the justifier). After Calvary, Satan's doom was assured.
How can we learn to rejoice in what Christ has done for us at the cross, even amid the trials we face in the great controversy now?
Friday October 7
Further Thought: The concept of a struggle, a controversy, between good and evil is found in many cultures. The idea has persisted through the millennia often expressed through myths. Today, because of the influence of higher criticism and modernist rationalism, many Christians deny the reality of a literal devil and evil angels. These were, the argument goes, just a primitive culture's symbols for human and natural evil. From our perspective as Adventists, it's hard to imagine how anyone makes sense of the Bible at all without belief in the reality of the devil and his angels.
Not all Christians have fallen for the deception that denies the reality of this cosmic conflict between supernatural forces of good and evil. An evangelical scholar named Gregory Boyd, for instance, has written extensively on the reality of the age-long (but not eternal) battle between God and Satan. In the introduction to his book God at War, after commenting on a few passages in Daniel 10, Boyd wrote: "The Bible from beginning to end presupposes spiritual beings who exist 'between' humanity and God and whose behavior significantly affects human existence, for better or for worse. Indeed, just such a conception, I argue in this work, lies at the center of the biblical world-view."-Gregory A. Boyd, God at War (Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997), p. 11. How correct he is.
Alexandru went to Norway, where he began drug dealing. Twice he nearly lost his life from gunshots and stabbings. Alexandru thought it was Satan's power that made him invincible.
Before long he was arrested for drug trafficking and sent back to Romania, where he bought and sold illegal guns. His father-in-law was so angry that he called the police.
Alexandru was imprisoned for two years. Prison officials were desperate to know what to do with this man. In one final attempt to reform him, they put Alexandru in charge of the prison's social activities room. He was to arrange chairs, provide items for the speaker, etc. As part of his job, Alexandru had to attend all meetings.
Church services were held in this room, including Adventist meetings conducted by lay evangelists. Alexandru enjoyed confounding the speakers with difficult questions. He even read the Bible to find questions to baffle these humble men.
But fighting against religion meant he heard a lot of sermons, and asking questions meant he received a lot of answers. Gradually Alexandru learned about God's love. During one meeting, the lay evangelist asked Alexandru to pray. His mind was in turmoil, and he found it difficult to pray.
After the meeting, the lay evangelist touched Alexandru and said, "You aren't far from the kingdom of God." Deeply moved, Alexandru began studying the Bible earnestly, looking for faith and comfort rather than for questions to confound the speaker. He realized that he now believed in God.
Prisoners and guards noticed the change in Alexandru. He started treating prisoners with kindness and the guards with respect. When his friends mentioned the change, Alexandru told them God made the difference.
Alexandru asked the lay evangelist to notify his family in Bucharest about the change in his life. His wife was astonished. She found it difficult to believe that her infamous husband could change so drastically. During the last months of his imprisonment, Alexandru became a teacher among fellow prisoners.
After Alexandru was released, he and his wife, Florentina, spent hours in serious discussion and Bible study. Step by step he showed her the beautiful message of God's love and salvation. Little by little she came to understand the power that had changed her husband from a hardened criminal to a gentle, kind, loving man of God.
The months following Alexandru's release from prison were difficult. His friends from the underground pressured him to re-enter the lucrative world of ill-gotten fortune. But he stood firm.
Later, Alexandru and Florentina were baptized together in the church near the prison where he was converted.
Adapted from a story written by Ion Buciuman, from Bucharest, Romania.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.adventistmission.org
All Rights Reserved. No part of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide may be edited, altered, modified, adapted, translated, reproduced, or published by any person or entity without prior written authorization from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Sabbath School Lesson Ends
For questions and concerns about the Study Guide,
please contact the editor of the Bible Study Guide, Clifford Goldstein
The web version of the Sabbath School lesson is published on
this site by permission of the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Website contents copyright 1996-2020 by Sabbath School Net, an independent supporting ministry.
For permission to copy contents of the web version of the Sabbath School lesson, please contact both the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide and the publisher of this site.
All art in these lessons and on the cover is published on this site by permission of GoodSalt.com.
We invite you to join a discussion of this lesson each day on the Sabbath School Net Daily Lessons blog. And on Sabbath mornings, you are warmly invited to join a group discussion of the week's lesson in your local Seventh-day Adventist congregation.
Sabbath School Net is an independently funded supporting website not affiliated with nor funded by the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists)It is run by volunteers and costs are covered solely by donations from the users of this site as well as the small commissions generated by sales through our links to online stores.
If you are using this site regularly, please pray for God's blessing on our visitors and ask Him to impress you how you can help with the costs of putting this site up every month. We appreciate any gift to support the ongoing publication of SSNET, and only you and God know how much you can give. Even a small donation every month helps. And larger gifts are much appreciated. (No, you don't need a PayPal account. Just choose the "Continue" link to the left of the PayPal registration. And, yes, it's safe - as safe as your online bank account.)
Sabbath School Net
Sabbath School Netis a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
You can find a sampling of materials available to aid you in your studies at our SSNET Store. (We will get a small commission not only from any books you purchase but also from whatever else you purchase at the same time. These commissions help to underwrite a small portion of the cost of publishing this site.)
You can also go directly to the home pages of stores which will pay us a small commission for whatever you choose to buy, without costing you a penny extra: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | ChristianBooks.com | AbeBooks Store