Lesson 5 | Sabbath, 29 April 2023
Abel means “God is my Father.”
“The first curse was pronounced upon the posterity of Adam and upon the earth, because of disobedience. The second curse came upon the ground after Cain slew his brother Abel. The third most dreadful curse from God came upon the earth at the flood.” —Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 373.
SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2023
Blessings for obedience
- What does the name Abel mean, and what was his occupation? What cities in and around Israel were named in his honor?
Genesis 4:2; 50:10, 11 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground…. 50:10 And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
Numbers 33:48, 49 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. 49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.
2 Samuel 20:14, 15 And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him. 15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2023
- What example did Abel give? What are the holistic health benefits of such a lifestyle?
Genesis 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.
Ezekiel 44:30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
“Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat as God had commanded; and in full faith of the Messiah to come, and with humble reverence, he presented the offering. God had respect unto his offering. A light flashes from heaven and consumes the offering of Abel. Cain sees no manifestation that his is accepted. He is angry with the Lord, and with his brother. God condescends to send an angel to Cain to converse with him.” —The Truth About Angels, p. 64.
“Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. The followers of Christ should rejoice in the privilege of revealing in their lives the beneficence of their Redeemer. As they give to the Lord they have the assurance that their treasure is going before them to the heavenly courts. Would men make their property secure? Let them place it in the hands that bear the marks of the crucifixion. Would they enjoy their substance? Let them use it to bless the needy and suffering. Would they increase their possessions? Let them heed the divine injunction, ‘Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.’ Proverbs 3:9, 10. Let them seek to retain their possessions for selfish purposes, and it will be to their eternal loss. But let their treasure be given to God, and from that moment it bears His inscription. It is sealed with His immutability.” —The Acts of the Apostles, p. 344.
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2023
- What additional health benefits come from obeying God’s law?
Leviticus 26:3-6 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Deuteronomy 6:2, 3 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Proverbs 3:1, 2, 8 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee…. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
“Health, life, and happiness are the result of obedience to physical laws governing our bodies. If our will and way are in accordance with God’s will and way; if we do the pleasure of our Creator, He will keep the human organism in good condition, and restore the moral, mental, and physical powers, in order that He may work through us to His glory. If we cooperate with Him in this work, health and happiness, peace and usefulness, are the sure result.” —Our Father Cares, p. 30.
“As the man is converted by the truth, the work of transformation of character goes on. He has an increased measure of understanding, in becoming a man of obedience to God. The mind and will of God become his will, and by constantly looking to God for counsel, he becomes a man of increased understanding. There is a general development of the mind that is unreservedly placed under the guidance of the Spirit of God.” —Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 58.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2023
- Why did God make Himself known by the name of Jehovah- rofi? What curses come to all who are disobedient?
Exodus 15:16 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
Deuteronomy 28:15, 22, 27, 28 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…. 22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish…. 27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. 28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.
“Sickness, suffering, and death are work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the Restorer. The words spoken to Israel are true today of those who recover health of body or health of soul: ‘I am the Lord that healeth thee.’ The desire of God for every human being is expressed in the words, ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.’ He it is who ‘forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.’” —(Counsels on Health, p. 168) Medical Ministry, p. 11.
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2023
A martyr for Christ
- Why was Cain moved to anger and fratricide? How did he want to justify his sin?
Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Genesis 4:9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
“When Cain, moved by the spirit of the wicked one, saw that he could not control Abel, he was so enraged that he destroyed his life. And wherever there are any who will stand in vindication of the righteousness of the law of God, the same spirit will be manifested against them. It is the spirit that through all the ages has set up the stake and kindled the burning pile for the disciples of Christ. But the cruelties heaped upon the follower of Jesus are instigated by Satan and his hosts because they cannot force him to submit to their control. It is the rage of a vanquished foe. Every martyr of Jesus has died a conqueror….
“Cain the murderer was soon called to answer for his crime. ‘The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Cain had gone so far in sin that he had lost a sense of the continual presence of God and of His greatness and omniscience. So he resorted to falsehood to conceal his guilt.” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 77.
FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2023
- How was Abel’s death considered by the Lord Jesus? What foundational attribute did this noble Christian have?
Luke 11:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.”
Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
“‘When men shall revile you, and persecute you,’ said Jesus, ‘rejoice, and be exceeding glad.’ And He pointed His hearers to the prophets who had spoken in the name of the Lord, as ‘an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.’ James 5:10. Abel, the very first Christian of Adam’s children, died a martyr. Enoch walked with God, and the world knew him not. Noah was mocked as a fanatic and an alarmist. ‘Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment.’ ‘Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.’” Hebrews 11:36, 35.
“In every age God’s chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad. Every disciple of Christ is to step into the ranks and carry for- ward the same work, knowing that its foes can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God’s means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber.” —Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 33.
SABBATH, APRIL 29, 2023
- List some traits in Abel’s life that were similar to those of Christ. Also, whom does Abel symbolize?
John 1:36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
1 Corinthians 15:20, 23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept…. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
“Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. Those who feel no need of the blood of Christ, who feel that without divine grace they can by their own works secure the approval of God, are making the same mistake as did Cain. If they do not accept the cleansing blood, they are under condemnation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin.” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 72.
“By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteous- ness…. As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation’s iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress which prophets have described as the time of Jacob’s trouble. The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 451.
For further study—the first fruits, martyrs, and resurrection
“Christ arose from the dead as the first fruits of those that slept. He was the antitype of the wave sheaf, and His resurrection took place on the very day when the wave sheaf was to be presented before the Lord. For more than a thousand years this symbolic ceremony had been performed. From the harvest fields the first heads of ripened grain were gathered, and when the people went up to Jerusalem to the Passover, the sheaf of first fruits was waved as a thank offering before the Lord. Not until this was presented could the sickle be put to the grain, and it be gathered into sheaves. The sheaf dedicated to God represented the harvest. So Christ the first fruits represented the great spiritual harvest to be gathered for the kingdom of God. His resurrection is the type and pledge of the resurrection of all the righteous dead. ‘For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
“As Christ arose, He brought from the grave a multitude of captives. The earthquake at His death had rent open their graves, and when He arose, they came forth with Him. They were those who had been co-laborers with God, and who at the cost of their lives had borne testimony to the truth. Now they were to be witnesses for Him who had raised them from the dead.
“During His ministry, Jesus had raised the dead to life. He had raised the son of the widow of Nain, and the ruler’s daughter and Lazarus. But these were not clothed with immortality. After they were raised, they were still subject to death. But those who came forth from the grave at Christ’s resurrection were raised to everlasting life. They ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave. These, said Christ, are no longer the captives of Satan; I have redeemed them. I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of My power, to be with Me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow.” —The Desire of Ages, pp. 785, 786.
MISSIONARY REPORT FROM UGANDA
To be read on Sabbath, April 29, 2023
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be collected on Sabbath, May 6, 2023
“Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” Nehemiah 2:17, 18.
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country that is located in East Africa. It is bordered on the north by South Sudan, on the east by Kenya, on the south by Tanzania, on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, and on the southwest by Rwanda. The southern part of the country includes a substantial part of Lake Victoria, which is shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. The country also lies in the Nile basin and has a varied but generally modified equatorial climate. It covers 241,037 square kilometers (149,773 square miles), with a population 48,314,812 as of April 2022. About 8.5 million people live in Kampala, the capital city.
Uganda is a multilingual country. Forty-three of its existing languages fall into five main families–Bantu, Nilotic, Central Sudanic, and Kuliak, as well as English, which was inherited from the colonial period. English is the country’s official language, and Kiswahili (Swahili) is a national language.
Uganda is known as a Christian country. About 84.5 percent of the population are considered Christians, with 39.3 percent Roman Catholics, 32 percent Anglicans, 11.1 percent Pentecostals, 11.1 percent Seventh-day Adventists, 0.3 percent Baptists, and 0.1 percent Orthodox. The remainder are 13.7 percent Muslim and 1.8 percent other.
The message of Reformation entered the African continent from South Africa in the 1920s, but only in the 1970s did it extend to eastern Africa, such as Tanzania, Kenya, and other countries. It reached Uganda in 1996 from Kenya through eastern Uganda, but the early work suffered under the unfaithfulness of those participated in the church. But then God worked on the hearts of other people, who were refugees in Tanzania, and His work sprang up in the southwestern areas and gradually spread to the western, central, and northern parts of the country.
Because of various factors, the work moved very slowly; the current membership of the Ugandan Field is 467. We are grateful that in many areas the local churches are being normalized and improved. One great challenge for the Lord’s cause is instability among the church families. Originally, almost all of the couples were not legally married, which often led to marital separations, divorces, and remarriages. All of this had a negative effect on God’s work. To solve this, we needed to follow the resolution of the General Conference and have all of the marriages be legalized. Praise God that the members have been willing. There tends to be a lot of corruption in most regions of the country, and this leads to the marriage certificate being very expensive. The solution to this is for the church organization to be registered with the government, in which case the ministers can marry the members and issue their marriage certificates.
But then there is another difficulty that still prevails. Permission from the government requires the organization to have a wedding hall that meets the legal standards. This is now our biggest challenge. We do not have the required church hall! By the grace of God, we have a piece of land in Kampala that was purchased some years back with a donation made by the late Elder Branko Cholich for the Ugandan Field headquarters. Through the combined efforts of our members and the support and donations of Bridge to Life in Germany, led by Brother Gerhard Köbele and his late wife Felicidad, we were able to begin building the meeting hall, offices, and minister’s residence. The foundation was laid in 2016, but the project is only 46 percent completed. Thus, the greater part is still unfinished. Since our members were severely affected by the lockdowns of COVID-19 for two years, it has been impossible to complete the construction. If we depend only on our own resources, this work will take many more years, causing the church great hardship.
Therefore, the brethren in the Ugandan Field are asking the believers around the world to extend your helping hands by sharing the financial burdens of finishing this project. Let us strengthen our “hands for this good work” through prayer and dedication!
“God has made men His stewards. The property which He has placed in their hands is the means that He has provided for the spread of the gospel. To those who prove themselves faithful stewards He will commit greater trusts. Saith the Lord, ‘Them that honor Me I will honor.’ 1 Samuel 2:30. ‘God loveth a cheerful giver,’ and when His people, with grateful hearts, bring their gifts and offerings to Him, ‘not grudgingly, or of necessity,’ His blessing will attend them, as He has promised.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 529.
May the Lord’s rich blessing accompany your generous gifts and sacrifices.
Your brother in Christ’s service,
–Elder Mulatu Tekle
Uganda Field president