Light of the Gentiles
Lesson 23 | Sabbath, 4 June 2022
“Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: ‘The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light….” –Prophets and Kings, p. 373.
1. What forerunner proclaimed a message of repentance and preparation before God manifested His glory? What is the meaning of the valleys being exalted and the mountains made low?
Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
“John was called to do a special work; he was to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths…. The Lord gave him his message. Did he go to the priests and rulers and ask if he might proclaim this message? No, God put him away from them that he might not be influenced by their spirit and teaching. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness…. This [Isaiah 40:3-5] is the very message that must be given to our people; we are near the end of time, and the message is, Clear the King’s highway; gather out the stones; raise up a standard for the people. The people must be awakened. It is no time now to cry peace and safety. We are exhorted to ‘cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ Isaiah 5:1.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 410.
AFTER THE GRAVE, THE PATH OF LIFE
2. Because of the righteousness that He would purchase with His own blood, what would the Son of God become for the people He created? What would He be for the nations?
Isaiah 42:6-8 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 8I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Matthew 26:27, 28 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
“Jesus Christ is our spiritual touchstone. He reveals the Father…. The mind must be prepared to appreciate the work and words of Christ, for He came from heaven to awaken a desire and to give the bread of life to all who hunger for spiritual knowledge. Inspiration declared that His mission was to preach the gospel to the poor, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. His Word declared that He should set judgment on the earth, and that the isles should wait for His law; that Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. This was the Messenger of the Covenant yet to come, the Son of Righteousness yet to rise upon our world.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 221.
3. How did prophecy define the servant whom the Lord would raise up?
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
Jeremiah 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
“Now is reached the complete fulfillment of those words of the Angel: ‘Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.’ Zechariah 3:8. Christ is revealed as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people. Now indeed are the remnant ‘men wondered at,’ as the tears and humiliation of their pilgrimage give place to joy and honor in the presence of God and the Lamb. ‘In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely…. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.’ Isaiah 4:2, 3.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 475, 476.
4. What would characterize the Messenger referred to as “The Branch”? What did Jesus declare about the building of His spiritual temple?
Zechariah 6:12, 13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: 13Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
“The work of Christ as man’s intercessor is presented in that beautiful prophecy of Zechariah concerning Him ‘whose name is the Branch.’ Says the prophet: ‘He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father’s] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.’ Zechariah 6:12, 13.
“‘He shall build the temple of the Lord.’ By His sacrifice and mediation Christ is both the foundation and the builder of the church of God…. “‘He shall bear the glory.’ To Christ belongs the glory of redemption for the fallen race. Through the eternal ages, the song of the ransomed ones will be: ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,… to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.’ Revelation 1:5, 6.” –The Great Controversy, pp, 415, 416.
5. What wonderful fruit will the work of the spiritual Branch produce?
Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
“Now is reached the complete fulfillment of those words of the Angel: ‘Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch.’ Christ is revealed as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people. Now indeed are the remnant ‘men wondered at,’ as the tears and humiliation of their pilgrimage give place to joy and honor in the presence of God and the Lamb. ‘In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 476.
LIGHT TO THE GENTILES
6. How far beyond Israel would the Messiah’s light reach? What did Simeon prophesy under the moving of the Holy Spirit?
Isaiah 49:6; 60:3 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth…. 60:3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Luke 2:31, 32 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
“This glorious Light of the world was to bring salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Of the work before Him, the prophet heard the eternal Father declare: ‘It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.’ ‘In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.’ ‘Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.’ Isaiah 49:6, 8, 9, 12.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 373, 374.
7. How would the Gentiles respond to the gospel message? Who would fill God’s house?
Haggai 2:6, 7 For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.
Isaiah 2:2, 3 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
“Centuries before, the pen of inspiration had traced this ingathering of the Gentiles; but those prophetic utterances had been but dimly understood. Hosea had said: ‘Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.’ And again: ‘I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.’ Hosea 1:10; 2:23.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 174.
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“The Saviour Himself, during His earthly ministry, foretold the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles. In the parable of the vineyard He declared to the impenitent Jews, ‘The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.’ Matthew 21:43. And after His resurrection He commissioned His disciples to go ‘into all the world’ and ‘teach all nations.’ They were to leave none unwarned, but were to ‘preach the gospel to every creature.’ Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 174.
“The work of Sabbath reform to be accomplished in the last days is foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.’ ‘The sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.’ Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7.”–The Great Controversy, p. 451.