This quarter’s Sabbath School lesson is on the Great Controversy—that most distinctive of Adventist doctrines. According to the late Herb Douglass, it is the fundamental organizing principle of all Seventh-day Adventist theology, the conceptual keystone of our entire doctrinal edifice. It has also been trumpeted as an original Adventist contribution to Christian theology—the one truly Adventist metanarrative in the whole package of Christian beliefs debated, developed and hammered out over the last two thousand years.
The prophetic quest for “judgment and righteousness” is the quest for fairness and justice upon the earth. It represents the collective sigh of the oppressed, downtrodden, marginalized and stigmatized. It echoes throughout history as the voice of the few, brave enough to “do unto others” and to call others to do the same. It is the essence of hope – the messianic hope - hope that God’s reign of righteousness will finally come upon the earth.
Ishmael and his men, under the order of Baalis the king of the Ammonites (Jer. 40:14), assassinated Gedaliah,who was appointed governor over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. They also killed the Judeans who were with the governor, and Babylonian soldiers (Jer. 41:2, 3). The narrative’s description of Gedaliah as the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan (Jer. 40:9) traces his ancestral root to King Josiah’s scribe, named Shaphan (2 Kgs 22:3, 8, 12). On the other hand, Ishmael’s depiction of his pedigree (Jer. 40:8, 14) suggests that he came from a royal family (Jer. 41:1; 2 Kgs 25:25).
Among the 52 chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah the most intriguing concept is the New Covenant. Would we like to know what is a “Covenant” and why is it called “New”? In this lesson we have a list of several covenants: Adamic, Universal, Abrahamic, Sinaitic, Davidic and the New. In addition, we have within the larger context of the Bible, the concept of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. What is the meaning of the word covenant? While today we do not use the word covenant in our everyday conversation, we use more contemporary words quite often.
Every few hundred years, there are events that redefine a nation, a people, at its very core. Consider the shift in internal vision and circumstance that propels, occasionally, a geographical backwater to a leading world force for a season as was Portugal, Holland, and England; or the change in values and identity that transforms a nation as with the French Revolution (“liberté, égalité, fraternité”), the Meiji Restoration of 1870s Japan that opened it to the pursuit of modernization and empire, or the Declaration of Independence that resumed the Athenian experiment with democracy aft