what do you think?
The following is a list of words that describe an aspect of the last-day message of judgment to the world. Which three words immediately resonate with you? Which words do you feel unfamiliar with?
Judgment of sin
Judgment of the righteous
did you know?
In the book of God’s remembrance every deed of righteousness is immortalized. There every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled. And every act of sacrifice, every suffering and sorrow endured for Christ’s sake, is recorded.”
“God has an exact record of every unjust account and every unfair dealing. He is not deceived by appearances of piety. He makes no mistakes in His estimation of character.”
“Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (The Great Controversy, pp. 481, 486, 490).
INTO THE STORY
“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
“On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
“For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”
(Genesis 7:6-23, NIV)
OUT OF THE STORY
Read every word and phrase carefully and underline the parts that you think are crucial to the story.
As you read this story, what insights do you see in the account of the Flood that relate to people living at the time of the end?
Read Matthew 24:39 and note the way the story of the Flood is likened to the judgment scene at the end of time. How is this story a perfect illustration of the judgment scene? How might it be different?
Read Daniel 7:1-10 and note especially the judgment scene in verses 9 and 10. What is the connection between the judgment that came in the time of Noah and the judgment that is currently taking place today?
Matthew 25 contains three parables that describe the judgment scene at the end.
How is it that so few responded to Noah’s message? What might be different about “the end” that is before humanity today and “the end” that was before Noah and the antediluvians long ago?
On what basis can believers today be confident that God is declaring them . . . “not guilty”?
What other stories or events in Scripture remind you of the judgment scene depicted in this lesson?
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV).
“And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still’” (Revelation 22:10, 11, NKJV).
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name” (Malachi 3:16, NKJV).
“He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water’” (Revelation 14:7, NIV).
“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; . . . A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9, 10, NKJV).
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:33, NKJV).
(Other texts: Daniel 7–9; Daniel 4; Matthew 13:28-30; Leviticus 23; Hebrews 8; 9)
“Whatever is done from love, however small it may appear in the estimation of men, is accepted and rewarded of God.” —Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 487
Read and respond to the activity in the What Do You Think? section of this week’s lesson. Which words seemed to resonate with you? Why? In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus describes a scene at the end where some will believe they are going to heaven, but are informed that they are not. How does this passage impact you? On what were the people Jesus referred to basing their readiness for heaven? On what basis can you know confidently that when God judges you, He is judging you “not guilty”?
As you read the Into the Story section and answer the questions in the study section of this week’s lesson, it takes you back to a judgment scene on earth. The story of Noah and the Flood mirrors a similar climate and a similar question that needs to be answered: when judgment comes, what will be the outcome for you? By the time the water fell it was too late to decide. Judgment had been passed. When Christ comes again it will be too late to choose—judgment already will have taken place.
What do you think is the message God is trying to say to people today when He says: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37, NIV)? What do you think God is trying to say to you today?
Read Genesis 7:23, Revelation 22:10, 11.
The Key Text may seems harsh, but when the Bible says that only Noah and his family were safe in the ark, it describes those who have chosen to be faithful to God. Compare this verse to the verse in Revelation 22:10, 11, where God draws a line for those who are in, and those who are out. While every one has a choice to make about which side they will stand on, how do you see God’s loving character displayed in such a severe setting? How would you answer the question, “How could God be seen as loving in a judgment scene?”
Read Revelation 3:5.
Read the amazing quote from The Great Controversy that shows the grace of God in His judgment of people. Do you want to have your name written in the books of heaven? According to this statement by Ellen White, how do you become ready or “worthy of eternal life”?
Take some time and write out a prayer to God asking Him to place your name in the book of life. According to this quote, what are some things you need to say? Think about what it means to repent and admit that all your good works can never qualify you for heaven. Also, think about what it means to have all the good works of Christ pronounced on your behalf. What does it mean to you to have Christ not only die for you, but also live perfectly for you?
As you read the passages listed in the Punch Lines section of this week’s lesson, how would you organize these verses if you were to use them in a Bible study? Which verse would you start and end with? Why? What verse is speaking to you personally today? What do you think God is trying to say to you?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16.
Thinking about the judgment is sobering because there is no moment on earth that has so much at stake. How can you respond to this week’s lesson—not out of fear or guilt, but from a heart full of joy and confidence in what Christ has done to pronounce you “not guilty”? This judgment takes place now, while we are alive. When Christ comes, the book is closed, but today the book is open. Remind yourself that today is the hour of God’s merciful judgment on you by leaving books open— strategically placed to be a reminder to you that today God’s judgment is taking place, and for those who have trusted in Christ, it is good.
Read John 1:10-13.
Reflect and imagine what the judgment scene looks like in heaven today. Replay in your ears and before your eyes the work of Christ, your Mediator, standing before His throne announcing: “This one is a child of God” (see John 1:10-13). Can you think of anything more important today than making your decision about who will represent you in the judgment? How will that decision change how you live? Will it?