Lesson 9 | Sabbath, 29 August 2020
Zipporah means “small bird.”
“So He [God] let him [Moses] go: then she [Zipporah] said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” Exodus 4:26.
“Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. She was of a timid, retiring disposition, gentle and affectionate, and greatly distressed at the sight of suffering; and it was for this reason that Moses, when on the way to Egypt, had consented to her return to Midian. He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments that were to fall on the Egyptians.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 383.
- Who was Zipporah, and where did she live? Why did the Israelites discriminate her?
Exodus 2:16, 21 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock…. 21And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
Song of Solomon 1:5, 6 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. 6Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
“Though called a ‘Cushite woman’ (Numbers 12:1, Revised Version), the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham.” –Daughters of God, p. 34.
“When Zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength, and she made known her fears to Jethro, who suggested measures for his relief. Here was the chief reason for Miriam’s antipathy to Zipporah. Smarting under the supposed neglect shown to herself and Aaron, she regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking them into his counsels as formerly. Had Aaron stood up firmly for the right, he might have checked the evil; but instead of showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized with her, listened to her words of complaint, and thus came to share her jealousy.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 384.
Workers for God
- What were the literal and spiritual meanings of the names of Zipporah’s two sons? What is especially significant for God’s people today in the firstborn’s name?
Exodus 2:22 And she bare him [Moses] a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
“We are pilgrims and strangers in this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. When the Lord tells us to move, we are to obey, however inconvenient and inconsistent such a command may seem to us to be.” –The Publishing Ministry, p. 182.
“We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days. Let your influence impress souls with the sacredness of God’s requirements.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 452.
- Who were the grandsons and descendants of Zipporah, and what responsibilities did they carry in Israel? Similarly, with what responsibilities will the redeemed be entrusted when Jesus returns in glory?
1 Chronicles 23:14-17; 26:24-27 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief. 17And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many…. 26:24And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures. 25And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son. 26Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated. 27Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
“At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.
“Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people. Says Paul: ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ Verse 3. And Jude declares that ‘the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.’ Jude 6.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 660, 661.
Circumcision and its symbolism
- What does the fact that Zipporah accompanied her husband to Egypt show about her character?
Exodus 4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
“Though called a ‘Cushite woman’ (Numbers 12:1, Revised Version), the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal appearance she differed from the Hebrews in being of a somewhat darker complexion. Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God.”
–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 383.
- How did Zipporah actually save her husband’s life? Where is the noble act of Zipporah implied in the New Testament?
Exodus 4:24-26 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. 25Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
“On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terrible warning of the Lord’s displeasure. An angel appeared to him in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him. No explanation was given; but Moses remembered that he had disregarded one of God’s requirements; yielding to the persuasion of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision upon their youngest son. He had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. Zipporah, fearing that her husband would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then permitted Moses to pursue his journey. In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 255.
Substitute for circumcision in the New Testament?
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Colossians 2:11, 12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
“It was to be observed by the patriarch and his descendants as a token that they were devoted to the service of God and thus separated from idolaters, and that God accepted them as His peculiar treasure. By this rite they were pledged to fulfill, on their part, the conditions of the covenant made with Abraham. They were not to contract marriages with the heathen; for by so doing they would lose their reverence for God and His holy law; they would be tempted to engage in the sinful practices of other nations, and would be seduced into idolatry.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 138.
“The old sinful life is dead; the new life entered into with Christ by the pledge of baptism.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 300.
Birds, leprosy, and the gospel
- What rite illustrates Zipporah’s name? In the gospels, what did Jesus say about this sacred rite, and what do the little birds represent?
Leviticus 14:2-7 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper.
4Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
6As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 7And he shall sprinkle on him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
Matthew 8:3, 4 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
“Immediately a change passes over the leper. His blood becomes healthy, the nerves sensitive, the muscles firm. The unnaturally white, scaly surface peculiar to leprosy disappears; and his flesh becomes as the flesh of a little child.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 69.
“Had the priests known the facts concerning the healing of the leper, their hatred of Christ might have led them to render a dishonest sentence. Jesus desired the man to present himself at the temple before any rumors concerning the miracle had reached them. Thus an impartial decision could be secured, and the restored leper would be permitted to unite once more with his family and friends.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 264.
“If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God’s law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the people practiced the principles of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need of the additional directions given to Moses.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 364.
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MISSIONARY REPORT from Jamaica
To be read on Sabbath, August 29, 2020
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered on Sabbath, September 5, 2020
“Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord and declare His praise in the islands.” Isaiah 42:10-12.
Jamaica is a country that is well known for its tropical climate and landscapes. Millions of visitors flock to this island every year to enjoy its sun, white sandy beaches, and abundant entertainment. A beautiful island of trees and water, it is part of the Greater Antilles, approximately 145 miles (234 kilometers) long and up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide. Located in the Caribbean Sea, it is 90 miles (145 km) south of Cuba and 119 miles (191 km) west of the island of Hispaniola.
There are 2,970,340 inhabitants. According to the 2011 census, the population is 92.1 percent black, 6.1 percent mixed, 0.8 percent East Indian, 0.4 percent other, and 0.7 percent unspecified. The main languages are English and English Patois. There are a number of religious groups in the country: Protestant, 64.8 percent; Roman Catholic, 2.2 percent; Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1.9 percent; Rastafarian, 1.1 percent; other, 6.5 percent; none, 21.3 percent; and unspecified, 2.3 percent. There are over 100 denominations, and the country has the most churches per square mile in the whole world. The leading organization is the nominal Seventh- day Adventist Church.
The third angel’s message entered Jamaica in the 1890s, and the International Missionary Society began its work here in the 1980s with the help of the Canadian Field, particularly Brother Timo Martin. There are fourteen parishes, and the IMS is represented in four of them with a membership of 53.
In the western section of the island, particularly in the city of Montego Bay, there is a great need for a memorial to stand as a witness of the truth. “When an interest is aroused in any town or city, that interest should be followed up. The place should be thoroughly worked until a humble house of worship stands as a sign, a memorial of God’s Sabbath, a light amid the moral darkness. These memorials are to stand in many places as witnesses to the truth. God in His mercy has provided that the messengers of the gospel shall go to all countries, tongues, and peoples until the standard of truth shall be established in all parts of the inhabited world.
“Wherever a company of believers is raised up, a house of worship should be built. Let not the workers leave the place without accomplishing this.
“In many places where the message has been preached and souls have accepted it, they are in limited circumstances and can do but little toward securing advantages that would give character to the work. Often this renders it difficult to extend the work. As persons become interested in the truth, they are told by the ministers of other churches–and these words are echoed by the church members:
‘These people have no church, and you have no place of worship. You are a small company, poor and unlearned. In a short time the ministers will go away, and then the interest will die down. Then you will give up all these new ideas which you have received.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 100.
The believers in Montego Bay have been holding worship services in a community center for many years. However, it is not possible to hold meetings there at night, because there is no electricity at the facility, so the church meets only on the Sabbath. The gospel work is hindered by not being able to carry out other activities, such as prayer meetings, missionary services, seminars, and youth services. As a result, many visitors and young people have decided to worship elsewhere.
It has been very difficult to purchase bare land or a building, since the cost for most plots is over 6 million Jamaican Dollars (US $43,742), and those with buildings are even more expensive, costing 15 million Jamaican Dollars (US $109,354) and above.
Dear brothers and sisters around the world, the believers in Jamaica are appealing to you for your help. We need your generous gifts to be given next Sabbath to support the work and evangelize this island nation for the Lord, while remembering His promise, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35.
We look forward to receiving your support. May our loving God recompense your generous efforts a hundredfold.
–Elder George Gowie
Jamaican Field President