Lesson 26 | Sabbath, 26 December 2020
Priscilla means “ancient or venerable”
“Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.” 2 Timothy 4:19.
“During the long period of his ministry in Ephesus, where for three years he carried forward an aggressive evangelistic effort throughout that region, Paul again worked at his trade. In Ephesus, as in Corinth, the apostle was cheered by the presence of Aquila and Priscilla, who had accompanied him on his return to Asia at the close of his second missionary journey.” –Gospel Workers, p. 235.
A volunteer, working missionary couple
- Who was a volunteer Bible worker in the early Christian church? Where did the believers meet for religious services?
Romans 16:3-5 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
“Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose, and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soulsaving.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 355.
“As he [Paul] worked with Aquila, he kept in touch with the great Teacher. He gave Aquila needed instruction in spiritual things, and he also educated the believers in unity. While working at his trade he gave an example in diligence and thoroughness. He was diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. He and Aquila and Priscilla had more than one prayer-and-praise meeting with those associated with them in tent-making. This was a testimony to the value of the truth they were presenting.” –Daughters of God, p. 74.
- Since Priscilla literally means “ancient or venerable woman,” who does her name remind us of? What should be the role of every elderly woman in God’s church?
Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
Revelation 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Titus 2:3, 4 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.
“The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.’ Psalm 90:2. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment. And holy angels as ministers and witnesses, in number ‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,’ attend this great tribunal.” –The Great Controversy, p. 479.
- In what profession were Priscilla and her husband Aquila employed? Like the apostle Paul, what day did they observe as holy?
Acts 18:3, 4 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
“The apostle Paul was an able minister of the gospel, and yet he labored with his hands, doing the humble work of a tentmaker. By working with his hands he did not lessen his work of communicating to Aquila and Priscilla the great truth of the gospel of Christ. These two men and Priscilla labored with their hands, and Paul’s designs in tent-making were ingenious. He brought fresh methods into his work also as he labored for the people, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many were brought to a knowledge of the truth by witnessing the faithful toiler making tents to support himself, that he might not be dependent upon anyone for food and raiment. While thus at work, he showed himself skillful, ‘not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.’ And in preaching the Word, he was no less fervent and able in speech because of his business tact.” –Daughters of God, p. 74. “In Corinth he [Paul] had lived and labored with Aquila and Priscilla, instructing them more perfectly in the truth. The great apostle was not ashamed or afraid of work, and he did not treat this subject as in any way lowering to his work in the ministry….
“The custom of supporting men and women in idleness by private gifts or church money encourages them in sinful habits, and this course should be conscientiously avoided. Every man, woman, and child should be educated to do practical, useful work. All should learn some trade. It may be tentmaking, or it may be business in other lines; but all should be educated to use the members of their body to some purpose, and God is ready and willing to increase the adaptability of all who will educate themselves to industrious habits.” –This Day with God, p. 203.
Suffering persecution and separation
- Why did Priscilla and Aquila have to leave Rome? Similarly, during what period in the future will many Christians face exile, prison, and even death at the mandate of American Rome?
Acts 18:1, 2 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
Revelation 13:15; 20:4 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed…. 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
“The envy and rage of the Jews against the Christians [in Rome] knew no bounds, and the unbelieving residents were constantly stirred up. They made complaints that the Christian Jews were disorderly, and dangerous to the public good. Constantly they were setting in motion something that would stir up strife. This caused the Christians to be banished from Rome.
“Banished by the decree of Claudius, which commanded all Jews to leave Rome, Aquila and Priscilla had come to Corinth, where they established a business as manufacturers of tents. Paul made inquiry concerning them, and learning that they feared God and were seeking to avoid the contaminating influences with which they were surrounded, ‘he abode with them, and wrought:… And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.’ Acts 18:2-4.” –Daughters of God, pp. 73, 74.
- When they heard the testimony of Paul and those who were faithful, such as Priscilla, what happened among the nominal Jews? How has this been repeated between nominal Adventists and the remnant?
Acts 18:6-8 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. 7And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
“I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them.” –Last Day Events, p. 158.
“I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed.” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 101.
- Could either ancient or modern Israel continue as God’s people after expelling and rejecting the reformers? However, what did Priscilla do when visiting the synagogue and meeting individuals who were interested in receiving more light, as was the case with Apollos?
Amos 5:2, 3 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3For thus saith the Lord God; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
Acts 18:24-26 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
“While in Ephesus, Apollos ‘began to speak boldly in the synagogue.’ Among his hearers were Aquila and Priscilla, who, perceiving that he had not yet received the full light of the gospel, ‘took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.’ Through their teaching he obtained a clearer understanding of the Scriptures and became one of the ablest advocates of the Christian faith.”–The Acts of the Apostles, p. 270.
- At the end of time, what did Jesus prophesy about the elect who still worship in apostate churches? Like Priscilla, what faith and position will the remnant hold fast?
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Revelation 18:4; 12:17 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues…. 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to cooperate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in. See verse 12.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 678.
“Through trial and persecution the glory–the character–of God is revealed in His chosen ones…. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self- denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 360.
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from the General Conference Disaster Management Fund
To be read on Sabbath, December 26, 2020
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered on Sabbath, January 2, 2021
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.
Very recently and in the past, we have heard news reports of natural disasters almost every week. Such reports remind us of the end-time prophecies of the Bible. For example, there are floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, epidemics such as cholera, Ebola, diphtheria, yellow fever, and dengue, wars, civil wars, and ethnic uprisings. Such disasters cause severe damage to and even complete loss of property, inflict suffering on individuals, families, and communities, and affect human life on a large scale.
Weather-related disasters and epidemics have affected some of our church members and their families. Desperate appeals have been received by the General Conference directly and from our representatives in many areas. Even though the Good Samaritan Department has to the best of its ability supplied much-needed assistance to those who are in need, more help is needed in the worldwide church family.
In 2017, severe floods and mudslides in Peru, Bangladesh, and parts of Africa left many believers homeless. In 2017 and 2018, Mexico experienced earthquakes causing damage to homes and church properties. In early 2018, southern Peru experienced a gigantic earthquake that severely damaged churches and the houses and personal property of many church members. Powerful hurricanes wiped out whole areas of infrastructure in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico in the USA, as well as in Cuba and the Caribbean islands. Storms threatened the lives of believers and caused damage to church buildings. In these regions, the people experienced shortages of food and drinking water and faced sanitation issues and much more. These situations keep happening year after year, and the impact has been getting increasingly greater. In addition to natural calamities, some of our members in different parts of the world have experienced catastrophic losses due to civil wars.
In addition to personal injury and great loss, everyone in such affected areas suffers emotional distress and anxiety. Our hearts go out to those who have been injured, suffered the loss of family members and friends, and been left destitute, with no place to live, work, or support their families.
Considering all these things, we believe that we have an obligation as believers in Christ to meet the needs of our fellow brethren in the faith. Therefore, the General Conference has established a “Disaster Management Fund” to make it possible to give help to the brethren quickly when they most need it. Next Sabbath’s Special Sabbath School Offering is for this fund. We urgently request your generous contributions to it. Eventually, the distribution of such funds and situation reports will appear in General Conference publications and websites.
“And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 11:28-30.
May the good Lord bless you bountifully as you extend your helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need.
–Elder Douglas Francis
General Conference Secretary