Thursday, January 31, 2019

1888 Message Study : The Seven Seals


 "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." Revelation 5:9,10.

Chapter 6 unfolds the opening of the seals on the book that was in the hand of the One sitting on the throne. As the seals are broken there follows apocalyptic events. There is a cluster of four horsemen (6:1-8), followed by the fifth and sixth seals (6:9-17). The opening of the seventh seal does not occur until chapter 8 (8:1).

Four Horses and Their Riders

Zechariah 6:1-8 uses the imagery of colored horses to describe the work of "four spirits" who explore the world. Isaiah 63:11-13 indicates that a horse could be a symbol for God's people. Zechariah 10:3 also relates the image of the horse to God's people. Viewed in this way, the four horses represent God's church in different stages. In addition, princes are depicted in Scripture as riding on horses, perhaps suggesting that the leadership of God's people is brought to view (Ecclesiastes 10:7; Esther 6:6-11).

White horse and rider (6:1-2): The image conveyed by the white horse, the bow and crown are symbols of a conqueror. In John's day, Roman generals would ride a white horse to celebrate victory (see also Romans 19:11-12). The imagery has roots in the OT (Habakkuk 3:8-13; Psalms 45:4-5; Isaiah 41:2). The crown the rider wears is a stephanos, the victor's wreath as opposed to the diadem, a king's crown. In Revelation's portrayal of the great controversy, Christ wears diadems, as does Satan and his associate the sea-beast.

Prophetically, this represents the onward growth of the church and parallels the symbol of the church of Ephesus. However, it is important to recognize that the church today is to be continually conquering. This victory is based on Christ's overcoming through His sacrificial death.

Red horse and rider (6:3-4): This represents a picture of war and strife. As people resist the spread of the gospel, turmoil is the result (Matthew 10:21-22, 34-36). Red is the color of the dragon (12:3) and the harlot (17:4). Rejecting the peace the gospel brings, people place themselves under the control of the dragon and reap the result.

Prophetically, the second horse parallels the church of Smyrna and the time of persecution the church experienced. An alternative interpretation sees this horse as representing the period of time when the church became a persecuting power and corresponds to the time of the church of Pergamum.

Black horse and rider (6:5-6): The color black is representative of the darkness that comes as a result of the absence of the gospel. The balances and the high prices for the commodities represent a time of scarcity. This would point to a spiritual famine, a shortage of God's word (see Amos 8:11-13). However, the protection of the oil (Matthew 25:1-10) and the wine (1 Corinthians 11:25) point to the fact that while the word might be obscured, the Holy Spirit is still making salvation available.

Prophetically, this parallels the time of the church of Pergamum, when compromise began to come into the church, and the word of God began to be obscured.

Pale horse and riders (6:7-8): Here there are two riders, Death and Hades. According to 1:18, as terrible as these two are, they are under the control of Christ. While they are fearful enemies, they have been defeated. The opening of this seal reveals an intensification of what has gone before. The pestilence and death come from a famine for the word of God. Here is a representation of the church in a state of deep spiritual apostasy.

Prophetically, the symbol represents the church era of the Middle Ages, also representative of the church of Thyatira.

The first four seals represent events depicted on earth; the last three describe events in heaven.

The Altar and the Cataclysmic Signs

The cry from the altar (6:9-11): As this seal is opened, the first of eight references to the altar is mentioned (8:3 (2x), 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7). The quarterly sees this altar as the copper altar on which the sacrifices were made (Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25). However, the proximity to God's throne indicates that this should be seen as the altar of incense, on the horns of which blood was placed. The imagery is of a slain witness for God, crying out for vengeance. Their cry "How long O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth," raises an important question.

They are longing for justice and an answer to the inherent question of God's faithfulness. Why has He not acted, or responded on behalf of His suffering people? Since He is sovereign, why is He allowing evil to continue and apparently triumph? The implication raised is, there is a fault in His character and rule. Questions are voiced about the means that God uses to govern. It is important to note that this plea does not focus on the unjust use of authority and control. Rather, the question calls for more activity on God's part, not less. While Satan's accusations are designed to undermine God's rule and call into question His authority, from a heavenly perspective there is an abundance of freedom and surprising absence of enforced sovereign rule (see Luke 18:3-8).

The martyrs are not expressing a cry for vengeance, but a plea that injustice be corrected. The call is based on a strong tradition within the OT (Genesis 4:10; Psalms 6:3; 13:2; 74:10; 79:1-10; Isaiah 6:1; Jeremiah 47:6; Daniel 8:13; 12:6-7) wherein God's people cry out for justice. The image of the blood crying out reflects the death of the first martyr (Genesis 4:9).

Prophetically this represents a time that God's people have experienced persecution, before the beginning of the heavenly judgment. This would point to the events under the 1260-day prophecy.

Cataclysmic Signs (6:12-17):

As the sixth seal is opened, a series of phenomena are unleashed that are cosmic in scope. They include a great earthquake, the darkening of the sun, the moon turning color, and the stars falling. These signs lead to the second coming of Christ. These signs are used in the OT to usher in the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:30-31; Amos 8:8-9; Isaiah 13:10, 13; see also Matthew 24:29). The picture of the unrepentant running into caves and longing to be hid from the presence of God and Christ reminds the reader of the experience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8; see also Isaiah 2:19-21). The passage ends with the important question: "Who is able to stand?" (See Malachi 3:2; Isaiah 54:10).

Seventh-day Adventists have seen a connection between this passage and Matthew 24:29. Jesus describes a period of tribulation followed by heavenly signs that precede His coming. These events are important for their magnitude and their location, as well as their timing, that occurred before the beginning of the judgment hour message in 1844.

These are:

The Lisbon earthquake of Nov. 1, 1755. It is listed as one of the greatest earthquakes in history. It extended over a tract of at least four millions of square miles. Its impact was felt on the continents of Europe, Africa, and America.

The Dark Day of May 19, 1780. It was observed in an area where a revival in the interest of the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation was about to take place. Students of these prophecies recognized it as a fulfillment of this passage. As well as the sun being darkened, the moon had a blood-red appearance when it rose.

"In some places, the darkness was so great, that persons could not see to read common print in the open air, for several hours together. - Samuel Williams - An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness in the States of New England, May 19, 1780, Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: 1783 Vol. 1, pp. 234, 235.

"The 19th of May, 1780, was a remarkable dark day. Candles were lighted in many houses; the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fowls retired to roost. The legislature of Connecticut was then in session at Hartford. A very general opinion prevailed, that the Day of Judgment was at hand. The House of Representatives, being unable to transact their business, adjourned. A proposal to adjourn the Council was under consideration. When the opinion of Colonel [Abraham] Davenport was asked, he answered, 'I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought." Timothy Dwight, quoted in Connecticut Historical Collections, compiled by John Warner Barber (2nd ed.; New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J.W. Barber, 1836), p. 403.

The Leonid star shower of Nov. 13, 1833. This is a recurring star shower, but it was particularly intense in that year. It attracted widespread attention, and seemed to many to have prophetic significance.

"The morning of November 13th, 1833, was rendered memorable by an exhibition of the phenomenon called SHOOTING STARS, which was probably more extensive and magnificent than any similar one hitherto recorded...

"Probably no celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with so much admiration and delight by one class of spectators, or with so much astonishment and fear by another class...." Denison Olmsted, "Observations on the Meteors of November 13th, 1833, " The American Journal of Science and the Arts, 25 (Jan 1834), p. 363.

"For nearly four hours the sky was literally ablaze.... [Careful scientific accounts indicate that] more than a billion shooting stars appeared over the United States and Canada alone."  Peter M. Millman, "The Falling of the Stars," The Telescope, 7 (May-June, 1940), 57.

The scene ends with the unrepentant fleeing from the presence of God and Christ. Who will be ready to meet them? The answer is given in the next chapter.

~Steven Grabiner

Saturday, January 26, 2019

1888 Message Study : The Enthronement of the Lamb



Memory Text: "Do not weep. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and loose its seven seals." Revelation 5:5 NKJV

To rightly understand the book of Revelation, the importance of Revelation. 4 and 5 cannot be overstated. These two chapters form a unit that comprise the theological fountainhead for the rest of the book. Scenes portrayed here have connections to John's entire narrative and help us to see that the unfolding of the great controversy is threaded throughout the entire book. The objects and characters introduced in this section, appear repeatedly throughout the book.

The Throne

When John is called up into heaven, (Revelation 4:1,2), the first thing he sees is the throne, and only afterward does he describe the One sitting on the throne. In this way John draws particular attention to the throne. This is the central object in the narrative John unfolds. The word appears 47 times throughout the book, the most out of any book in the bible. In Revelation, the throne is contested territory. One of the main issues in the book revolves around the question, "Is God worthy to sit on the throne?" God has a throne, but Satan also has a throne (see 2:13; 13:2; and Isaiah 14:12-14). God shares His throne (3:21) and Satan shares his (13:2). The overriding theme in the book of Revelation is the great controversy.

Who shall we serve, which throne will we give allegiance too?

"The student should learn to view the word as a whole, and to…gain a knowledge of its grand central theme…of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy…He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found." Ed 190.

The 24 Elders and Four Living Creatures

There is much discussion given to the identity of the elders and living creatures, but more important is what they do. Throughout Revelation they appear at strategic points giving praise to God. They form part of the heavenly council, before which Satan first instigated his war on God. The fact that the living creatures are full of eyes around and within, indicate their watchfulness and attention to the unfolding proceedings of the council. They sing, day and night without rest (4:8). Their praise is a counter image to Satan's accusations, which also occur day and night (12:10).

The 24 elders are also angelic creatures, participating in the council. Note this comment, in which EGW describes the action of the elder in Revelation 5:5.

"John was distressed at the utter inability of any human being or angelic intelligence to read the words, or even to look thereon. His soul was wrought up to such a point of agony and suspense that one of the strong angels had compassion on him, and laying his hand on him assuringly, said, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" [verse 5]. 12MR 296

The Sealed Scroll

The book is obviously of great importance. It is found in the right hand of the One sitting upon the throne. The OT background points to both Jeremiah 32:10 and Ezekiel 2:9,10. It is the book of destiny, from which humanity will be judged.

"There in His open hand lay the book, the roll of the history of God's providences, the prophetic history of nations and the church. Herein was contained the divine utterances, His authority, His commandments, His laws, the whole symbolic counsel of the Eternal, and the history of all ruling powers in the nations. In symbolic language was contained in that roll the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth's history to its close."  20MR 197.2

"What will such a one do in the day that the books are opened, and every man is judged according to the things written in the books? The fifth chapter of Revelation needs to be closely studied. It is of great importance to those who shall act a part in the work of God for these last days. There are some who are deceived. They do not realize what is coming on the earth… Unless they make a decided change, they will be found wanting when God pronounces judgment upon the children of men. They have transgressed the law and broken the everlasting covenant, and they will receive according to their works" (Ms 37, 1909)

The Strong Angel

We have no detailed information about this strong angel (Revelation 5:2), other than the question that he poses, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals?" Yet, this question is tremendously significant within the storyline. God's worthiness is connected to the worthiness of the one who can open the scroll. It raises the question as to the worth of the one that will be on the throne. This echoes the issues raised by Satan's accusations which initiated the heavenly conflict. The problem facing the heavenly council is the rebellion of Satan which is paralleled by rebellion on earth.

The Issue

The total silence in response to the question is conspicuous in a noisy book like Revelation. Unquestionably this is a moment of great importance in the unfolding storyline. The result of this silence and the lack of a suitable candidate worthy to open the book, is that John weeps greatly. He apparently understands the importance of the question and the issue facing the heavenly council. This is made clear by his intense weeping.

The tension in the plot is unbearable. The heavenly songs of chapter four are in contrast to the loud voice of the herald whose question reverberates throughout the universe and the deafening silence that follows. John weeps uncontrollably as it appears that no one is worthy to open the book and break its seals.

Fortunately, there is one who is worthy. One of the elders comforts John by combining two Messianic images, the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9) and the Root of David (Isaiah 11:1, 10), to describe the mighty warrior, who has overcome and thereby earned the right to open the scroll. These are kingly images, and it is important that what happens next is not missed. As John turns to see this overcoming king, he is confronted with the slain Lamb. The Lamb is in the midst of the throne. The centrality of the location indicates that the Lamb is the focus of attention.

As John looks for the emergence of the conquering Lion, he sees a slaughtered Lamb. This interplay of images indicates that the ruling power of God is manifest through the self-sacrifice of the Lamb. God's authority is displayed through self-sacrifice. This is how God establishes His reign. The image that John sees, not only connects the Lamb with the attributes of deity, more importantly, the image redefines omnipotence. Omnipotence is not to be understood as the power of unlimited coercion, but as the power of infinite persuasion, the invincible power of self-negating, self-sacrificing love.

God's right to rule is questioned in the larger narrative structure, and that right cannot be enforced through sheer power. Given the importance that Revelation places on the effects of the deceptive nature of Satan's accusations, an overwhelming display of force would only serve to strengthen Satan's claims. If the slanderous mischaracterizations of God are to be overthrown at all, it must be through the discovery of the truth about God. This is the role that the slain Lamb serves. God is revealed through the Lamb, as the self-sacrificial One. God's worthiness is inseparably connected with the worthiness of the Lamb, which is demonstrated through a conquering, that takes place through death.

The idea of conquering through death is an important theme in Revelation. In a variety of ways, the idea of overcoming occurs twenty-three times in Revelation, twice as frequently as in the rest of the NT. Christ's overcoming, is the basis for His people's ability to overcome as well.

The believers are persecuted by the devil (2:10) and it is he that they conquer, through Christ's overcoming (12:11). They conquer even though they might be martyred (13:7). What must not be neglected is that they are conquering Satan through their deaths; they are not merely overcoming the strength of any earthly power. This concept resonates with the heavenly council. There should be no question that the Lamb's victory is of the same nature. Christ has also conquered Satan and earned the right to rule the universe.

From any perspective, the concerns brought out in these chapters are full of significance. They bring to light the issue within the heavenly council, and the question as to who is worthy to rule. The answer is convincingly and unarguably given in the slain Lamb. It is no wonder the universe, which could not answer the herald's question-who is worthy- joins together to sing "worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (5:12).

Another important issue within this passage, is the question "When are the events taking place?" The lesson connects the events with the ascension and inauguration of Christ. This interpretation has become mainstream within Adventism over the last 35 years or so. However, for decades before the introduction of this view, many Adventist expositors saw within these chapters, parallels to the judgment of Daniel 7. For further study, some of these are shared here.

There are many parallels to Daniel 7 that indicate this is the same scene:

      1. Both Daniel and John "looked" Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:1

      2. Throne was set Daniel 7:9a; Revelation 4:2a

      3. God on throne Daniel 7:9b; Revelation 4:2b

      4. Servants around throne Daniel 7:10b; Revelation 4:4, 6-10; 5:8,11

      5. Books/book involved in the vision Daniel 7:10; Revelation 5:1-5

      6. Approach of messianic figure to reign Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 5:5-7;12-13

      7. Scope of kingdom Daniel 7:14a; Revelation 5:9b

      8. Prophet's emotional distress Daniel 7:15; Revelation 5:4

      9. Saints given kingdom Daniel 7:18, 22, 27a; Revelation 5:10

      10.Other thrones are present Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:4

It is of special importance that in these parallel chapters, thrones surround the throne of God. These are the only two passages in which this description is found. The elders on their thrones also appear in the judgment scene of Revelation 11:15-18.

~Steven Grabiner

Saturday, January 19, 2019

1888 Message Study : God's People In Cities



Jesus' Messages to the Seven Churches

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Galatians 3:22, KJV

This week's study deals with the churches of Revelation 2 and 3. Prophetically we understand these to be representative of the church from the earliest proclamation of the gospel to the very end of time in which we are now living. The lesson quarterly does a good job of pointing out these time periods and their applications. In a sense, we can look at these time periods as the birth, growth, and maturity of the great gospel movement, each with its own challenges, failings, and promises. Please consider accessing and other resources recommended in the first Sabbath School Insights of this quarter. Much more historical detail is available than we can possibly cover here.

In addition to understanding the historical application of these messages we should also be exploring the personal application of these messages. There are in the Christian walk different phases of experience and growth in which our challenges are unique, and the grace of God is needed in particular and unique ways to help us to overcome as Jesus overcame.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

The gospel is the good news of salvation from sin. We have a Savior who knows all about our weaknesses, and can sympathize with us. He also has just the counsel we each need. Each of the messages to the seven churches have a call to hear what the Spirit says and to overcome the sin which so easily besets us. Praise God, there is still time to hear and overcome!

Smyrna - the Persecuted Church (member)

After the early days of perseverance and patience we found in Ephesus in last week's lesson, with its temptation of losing that first love experience, the Christian may face such persecution like that of Smyrna, so that life itself is laid on the line. This may come from family, "friends," or enemies. But He Who "was dead, and came to life" removes all fear of death, having promised victory over the real thing, the second death. A willingness to die to self is inherent in any right stand for Christ, and the ultimate death to self that Christ experienced is the gift we must receive as we receive Him daily into our hearts.

Pergamos - the Compromising Church (member)

There is a temptation for the Christian as he purposes to hold fast to the character (name) of Jesus, and the faith of Jesus ("My Faith" as Jesus puts it here). It is to compromise by ignoring the Word of Jesus, the Sword of the Spirit which discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. This inevitably leads to imbibing the spirit of the world, ending in idolatry and immorality. The solution is the hidden manna of the Word properly discerned through the Spirit, eaten and incorporated so that the mind of Christ becomes ours, and our own identity is both pure and rock solid, a new name as it were.

Thyatira - the Corrupt Church (member)

We may have love, service, faith, patience, and be working very hard for God. But failure to address our own compromises will lead us to justify them by teaching others to do the same (by precept or example), corrupting both those around us and the prophetic call we share in this end time movement. At best, it weakens our witness. At worst, we may end up knowing "the depths of Satan," whose desire is to destroy us and our children. See Isaiah 49:25. Jesus is also a righteous Judge (note His penetrating gaze, feet of brass, and the rod of iron), Who gives to each according to our works, or His works in us - "he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end." Judgment is best experienced now, letting His Spirit cut us to the quick while His divine surgery can still be effective.

Sardis - the Dead Church (member)

Only the giver of "the seven Spirits of God" can revive the dead bones (Ezekiel 37), strengthening what remains. The perfect seven-fold Spirit (see Isaiah 11:2) of He Who made the stars has the power to bring life to the dead. We may drift into a near death experience in our walk with the Lord. But His desire is that we remain in the Book of Life. His white robe of righteousness is our only hope. If we will accept rest in Him, He will provide wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and respectful awe of His ways to enliven us.

Philadelphia - the Faithful Church (member)

Even as we are faithful to any degree (in the "little" things), we must have a constant recognition that our strength is "little" and we overcome only by continued trust in holding on to what we have in Him, holding on to His word and His name. What keeps us persevering is the knowledge that He has loved us. (see Revelation 3:9; 1 John 4:10) Like Peter's love, our phileōfalls short of His agapaō. But His promise is that we can dwell in the true city of God as permanent, labelled pillars of His agape - with the names of the Father, the new name of the Son, and the New Jerusalem written indelibly upon us. Let us believe His promise!

Laodicea - the Lukewarm Church (member)

The name Laodicean means "justice (or judgment) of the people." What a tragedy to have climbed the ladder of success in the Christian walk and to find that spiritual pride has blinded us to our true condition! Self-reliance, thought in this world to be a strength, is a fatal weakness in God's kingdom. The good news is that His love rebukes and chastens. And that He will come into our hearts and break the bread of life with us personally, individually, just as we need it. Oh, we need a Faithful and True Witness to tell it like it is! And to heal us from all our diseases.


Soon the history of the church on earth will come to a close. As it does, our personal story here will close as well. Every spiritual blessing is found in Christ, Who desires more than anything for us to "overcome even as He overcame." Will we give Him the rightful desire of His heart? Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

"But God must show, not only to the world, but also to the angels, what He can do with poor, fallen, humanity, so that the perfect life of Jesus may be reproduced in all the true church for a testimony to the power of God. The glory of God must be revealed, and all flesh shall see it; it must be so, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

"You remember that in the account of Saul's going to consult Samuel, it is written, 'Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.' Now read the message to the Laodicean church: 'Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.'

"To whom does this message come? - To everybody. Each one needs the eye-salve, that he may see. And when he sees, what will he be? - A seer. What will he see? - God, and the things of God, the message comes, Go, and tell what thou hast seen. That is the whole thing. Then it will be the testimony of Jesus, will it not? Christ said, 'I speak that which I have seen with my Father.' When we get our eyes open, that we may see, we shall be seers, and we shall simply go and tell people what we have seen. We shall be speakers for God, the Holy Spirit filling us, and speaking through us. Our mouths will simply be the mouths of God. O, when God speaks with multitudes of mouths, yet with but one voice, what a mighty voice it shall be! I cannot speak loud enough, neither is there any person who can utter the voice loud enough; but when that one voice has utterance through ten thousand - yea, ten thousand times ten thousand - mouths, what a mighty sound it will be!"  February 17, 1899 EJW, GCDB 14.

"Zeal for God and His cause moved the disciples to bear witness to the gospel with mighty power. Should not a like zeal fire our hearts with a determination to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and Him crucified? It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of the Saviour.

"If the church will put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, withdrawing from all allegiance with the world, there is before her the dawn of a bright and glorious day. God's promise to her will stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Truth, passing by those who despise and reject it, will triumph. Although at times apparently retarded, its progress has never been checked. When the message of God meets with opposition, He gives it additional force, that it may exert greater influence. Endowed with divine energy, it will cut its way through the strongest barriers and triumph over every obstacle.

"What sustained the Son of God during His life of toil and sacrifice? He saw the results of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. Looking into eternity, He beheld the happiness of those who through His humiliation had received pardon and everlasting life. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

"We may have a vision of the future, the blessedness of heaven. In the Bible are revealed visions of the future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these are dear to His church. By faith we may stand on the threshold of the eternal city, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life co-operate with Christ, regarding it as an honor to suffer for His sake. As the words are spoken, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father,' they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

. . . Honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.' Matthew 25:34; Revelation 5:12, 13.

There the redeemed greet those who led them to the Saviour, and all unite in praising Him who died that human beings might have the life that measures with the life of God. The conflict is over. Tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill all heaven as the ransomed ones take up the joyful strain, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant conqueror.

"'I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.' Revelation 7:9, 10.

"'These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.' 'And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.' Revelation 7:14-17; 21:4." AA 600-602.

~Todd Guthrie

Saturday, January 12, 2019




"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Hebrews 9:24.

"The sanctuary in Heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men." GC 488.

This week we are introduced to Christ's High Priestly ministry in the Heavenly sanctuary and begin to look at His messages to the seven churches. An appreciation of the sanctuary and the truths it contains is vital to understanding this last book of the bible because the Revelation of Jesus and its prophetic messages occur within the context and setting of the sanctuary. It was in the very heart of the Heavenly Sanctuary where sin originated, and it is here that sin is addressed, dealt with, and finally eradicated. The sanctuary speaks to us of the self-sacrificing love, justice, and mercy of the triune God. (I recommend the reading or rereading of The Consecrated Way by A. T. Jones for a clearer understanding of Christ in relationship to the sanctuary.)

When studying the plan of salvation believers often see the courtyard ministry of Jesus as the end all, but consider this amazing statement:  "The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in Heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, "whither the forerunner is for us entered." [Hebrews 6:20.] There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to Heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father's throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God."  GC 489.

It is my prayer, that as we study the book of Revelation, we find in its pages light radiating from Calvary, that clarity will replace confusion and blindness, that we allow His righteousness to replace our own filthy rags, and that we more fully appreciate what our salvation has cost Heaven.  With this in mind let us explore some of this week's lesson.

As we study this book, we find each key word and phrase rich with meaning. Each helps us gain a greater understanding of the whole. Many words and phrases reoccur in Revelation. Take for example some of the key phrases in John's opening words that supply the background of the vision - the tribulation (2:9-10, 7:14) and kingdom and patience (1:9, 2:2-3, 2:19, 3:10, 13:10, 14:12) of Jesus Christ; the word of God (1:2, 1:9, 6:9, 19:13, 20:4) and the testimony of Jesus Christ (1:2, 1:9, 12:17, 19:10); in the Spirit (1:10, 4:2, 17:3, 21:10). Revelation also contains numerous allusions to other bible passages. "In the Revelation all the books of the Bible meet and end." AA585. The author of the quarterly makes the following statement about the Lord's Day:  "Revelation 1:10 clearly suggests that the apostle John received the vision on the seventh-day Sabbath. Although looking with anticipation toward future events, even to the second coming of Christ (compare with Rev. 1:7), which is called "the day of the Lord" (Isa. 13:6–132 Pet. 3:10),John was talking about the time at which he, himself, had the vision of these future events, and that was on the Sabbath—the "Lord's day." Creation, Creator, and worship, are key themes in Revelation. This book is replete with sevens, the Creator's number. In the very heart and center of Revelation the everlasting gospel proclaims to the world, "Worship Him that made Heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:7. Thus our attention is directed to the fourth commandment. The book concludes with the earth experiencing rest and recreation. Finally, the redeemed are at rest in the New Jerusalem and New Earth, dwelling with God and the Lamb. How fitting it is that John received The Revelation on the Sabbath.

As the book of Acts is a sequel to Luke so Revelation is a sequel to the Gospel of John. For over three years John had beheld "the glory that dwelt among us" John 1:14. Yet when John turns and sees the glory of the Son of Man in the midst of the lampstands John's reaction is akin to Daniel's in Daniel 10. "John had seen Christ in human form, with the marks of the nails, which will ever be His glory, in His hands and His feet. Now he was permitted again to behold his risen Lord, clothed with as much glory as a human being could behold, and live." YI April 5, 1900. Many comparisons can be drawn between John and Daniel. Their descriptions both point to the same divine-human being. (Daniel, of course encounters the Christ before His incarnation.) Both are aged men when they receive visions of the Christ. There is textual evidence that our Lord appeared to Daniel also on the Sabbath. (See Daniel by William Shea p. 234.) Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed while each was alive. The first kingdom, Babylon, destroyed the city and the first temple during Daniel's exile. John lived to realize the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple by Rome, the fourth kingdom. Both books contain prophetic outlines that begin with each prophet's day and foretell major events that would have a direct bearing on the Israel of God.  The repeat and enlarge prophecies culminate with the establishment of God's everlasting kingdom. The books share similar literary structures and contain complementary material. The enemies of both prophets unsuccessfully tried to kill them. "In exiling John, the enemies of truth had hoped to silence forever the voice of God's faithful witness; but on Patmos the disciple received a message, the influence of which was to continue to strengthen the church till the end of time." AA581. History bears out again and again how God overrules evil for the accomplishment of His grand and glorious purposes.

As we proceed through the study of this book it is of great interest to observe Jesus' movement through the sanctuary, the transition markers, and the way He is portrayed at the different sanctuary locations. Walking among the lampstands, speaking to the churches, He is the Son of Man. He identifies with each and every church. He knows the internal and external threats each church faces. "I know." He knows by personal experience. He has experienced the lot of humanity and every temptation common to man. His overcoming encourages and empowers. It is true Jesus is ministering in the true tabernacle in Heaven since His ascension. However, the emphasis in chapters 2 and 3 is that Jesus, through the agency of His Holy Spirit, is very much walking in the midst of His people on earth. (Not till chapter 4 is John taken up into Heaven.) "Christ is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, walking from church to church, from congregation to congregation, from heart to heart. He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. RH May 26, 1903." The Son of Man's heart is with His people, and each promise points to a glorious future when He will dwell with His own.

Imagine this. You live on a planet that has never sinned. You are sent as a representative to a meeting in Heaven (Think Job chapters 1 and 2). You converse with representatives from other worlds. But who is this new representative from planet Earth? Is it really the Creator God, the Son of God, the last Adam, the Son of Man! Jesus' words and John's description convey to us His person, victory, and authority, but do we realize that everything about His divine-human person is ours? As we begin to grasp this overcoming will cease to be unattainable. He owns overcoming and it is His gift He delights to give!

Jesus Christ is depicted as High Priest walking among the lampstands, but let us not miss the voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom, the Divine Lover. To Ephesus He says, "You have left your first love." Smyrna is encouraged to "Be faithful." Pergamos and Thyatira are warned against sexual immorality. Sardis doesn't live up to her name. The Bridegroom may come as a thief and surprise her. However, there are the worthy who will walk with Him in white (wedding garments). Overcomers in Philadelphia are promised a future, a home with their bridegroom and His Father in the royal city. He is coming quickly! For Laodicea the Lover is on the outside knocking for admittance (Song of Solomon chapter 5). He wants to share His throne with them! They must consent to the marriage, however.

John's encounter with Jesus reminds me of that last supper. John is leaning on Jesus' breast, listening intently to Jesus' parting works before Gethsemane, before His crucifixion and the disciples' bitter disappointment. Their master comforts them. He tells them that though His departure would cause them sorrow it would be superseded by joy. He promises the gift of the Spirit. He will not leave them comfortless. And the separation is temporary. The bridegroom wants to be reunited with His family! We are His flesh and blood! In Christ's prayer in John chapter 17 He prays, "Father I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."  John 17:24.

In the Gospel of John Jesus always refers to His Heavenly Father as "My Father", or "The Father." That is until after His resurrection when Jesus says to Mary, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God and your God." John 20:17. In commenting on this passage Ellen White has the following to say:  "Jesus refused to receive the homage of His people until He knew that His sacrifice had been accepted by the Father, and until He had received the assurance from God Himself that His atonement for the sins of His people had been full and ample, that through His blood they might gain eternal life. Jesus immediately ascended to Heaven and presented Himself before the throne of God, showing the marks of shame and cruelty upon His brow, His hands and feet. But He refused to receive the coronet of glory, and the royal robe, and He also refused the adoration of the angels as He had refused the homage of Mary, until the Father signified that His offering was accepted. He also had a request to prefer concerning His chosen ones upon earth. He wished to have the relation clearly defined that His redeemed should hereafter sustain to Heaven, and to His Father. His church must be justified and accepted before He could accept heavenly honor. He declared it to be His will that where He was, there His church should be; if He was to have glory, His people must share it with Him. They who suffer with Him on earth must finally reign with Him in His kingdom. In the most explicit manner Christ pleaded for His church, identifying His interest with theirs, and advocating, with a love and constancy stronger than death, their rights and titles gained through Him.  God's answer to this appeal goes forth in the proclamation: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Every angelic commander obeys the royal mandate, and Worthy, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain; and that lives again a triumphant conqueror! echoes and re-echoes through all Heaven. The innumerable company of angels prostrate themselves before the Redeemer. The request of Christ is granted; the church is justified through Him, its representative and head. Here the Father ratifies the contract with His Son, that He will be reconciled to repentant and obedient men, and take them into divine favor through the merits of Christ. Christ guarantees that He will make a man "more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." All power in Heaven and on earth is now given to the Prince of life; yet He does not for a moment forget His poor disciples in a sinful world, but prepares to return to them, that he may impart to them His power and glory. Thus, did the Redeemer of mankind, by the sacrifice of Himself, connect earth with Heaven, and finite man with the infinite God."  3SP 202, 203.

The first church Ephesus is rebuked because she left her first love. The last church is told, "As many as I love I rebuke and chasten." May our study of Revelation direct our eyes "to His Divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family." TM 91, 92. "Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts." AA12.

~ Martha Ruggles

Friday, January 04, 2019




Understanding will bring a Revival.  "When we as a people understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival…When the Books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience.  They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart…If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message."  Testimonies to Ministers, p. 113, 114, 118.

"The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation (Three Angel's Messages) are to occupy the first place in the minds of God's people.  NOTHING else is to be allowed to engross our attention".   8T, p. 301.

"Why, then, this widespread ignorance concerning the important part of Holy Writ?  Why this general reluctance to investigate its teachings?  It is the result of a studied effort of the prince of darkness to conceal from men that which reveals his deceptions.  For this reason, Christ the Revelator, foreseeing the warfare that would be waged against the Study of Revelation, pronounced a blessing upon all who should read, hear, and observe the words of the prophecy."  GC, 342.

"The book of Revelation is not only a revelation of who Jesus Christ is, but it's a revelation of what we can and will become when we unite with Him.  As glorious as Christ is, we can participate in that glory if we but choose to unite our lives with Him.  The book of Revelation, above all, is a great appeal to God's people not to be constantly looking into the things of the world, not to be stuck in the sorrow and the troubles of this world, but to lift our eyes up, to see Jesus in heavenly places, to see that we have been elevated in these heavenly places with Him.  When we see this fresh status that we have in Jesus, then we can really get excited about praising Him, and really get excited about serving Him."  John Paulien, The Bible Expositor, Audiocassette Series.

There are two keys to understanding Revelation.  One is that the OT symbols are utilized in a NT understanding of the types and shadows of the OT.  The Second is the continuity of the Everlasting Covenant, with Jesus being the fulfillment of the prediction of the Messiah, and the fulfillment of every aspect of the Sanctuary service.  The Book of Revelation is understood through an intelligent study of the meaning of the symbols in salvation history.

Revelation is replete with contrasts between good and evil.  They are all reminiscent of the call in Deuteronomy to choose this day, life or death.

These contrasts include the Three Angel's Messages vs. The Three Unclean Spirits, the Seal of God vs. the Mark of the Beast, The Sea of Glass vs. the Lake of Fire, The Song of Moses and the Lamb vs crying out to the rocks, Clothed in White vs Purple and Scarlet, etc.

Revelation 1:3. John was to see events that were to take place "hereafter."  We see the same word used in Revelation 4:1. Thus, the book of Revelation cannot be limited to the First Century, and the antichrist cannot be Nero, as the book of Revelation is stated to be looking forward from 95 AD to the future, and Nero would be in the past, in the 60s AD.  Preterism is thus a false Biblical premise.  We know, of course, that Revelation is built upon the foundation of Daniel, and Daniel is the "sealed book" that is opened in Revelation.  Daniel uses the historicist method of movement from the time of the author to the end of the world and beyond.  The visions use recapitulation and expansion, as the movement goes toward the final events.  Futurism is also false, for John is to write the things that he had seen, the things that "are", and the things that would be "hereafter", so some of Revelation is not situated in the end times, but also proceeds in a historical progression.

Seven Blessings in the Book of Revelation

  1. Blessed are those who read and listen to the words of the prophecy of this book.  1:3
  2. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.  14:13
  3. Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his garments.  16:15
  4. Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.  19:9
  5. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection.  20:6
  6. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.  22:7
  7. Blessed are those who do his commandments.  22:1-4

Seven Promises to those who are Overcomers

  1. Ephesus – He who overcomes will eat the tree of life.
  2. Smyrna – Will give thee a crown of life.
  3. Pergamos – He who overcomes will eat of the hidden manna, have the white stone, and a new name.
  4. Thyatira – He who overcomes and keepeth my works unto the end will I give power over the nations; I will give him the morning star.
  5. Sardis – He who overcomes will be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot him out of the Book of Life, and will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.
  6. Philadelphia – He who overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God and I will write upon him my new name.
  7. Laodicea – He who overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne.

The ending chapters of Revelation reveal the fulfillment of these blessings and promises, all culminating in the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life.

We are told that God wishes for us to hear, read, and keep the things found in the Book of Revelation.  For the believer, the word "keep" is used only a few other times in the book, twice referring to keeping God's commandments, and then also keeping the words of the Book of Revelation.  It means to guard, keep a watch over, and thus to obey His will, for there are blessings for obedience, based on love and loyalty towards Him.  Obedience is the fruit of true faith, and faith believes that God's Word has the power, the power of love and creation itself, to recreate us in holiness and conformity to His will and character.

Which commandments?  Revelation 12:17 refers to the final remnant who keep God's commandments.  18 verses before, in Revelation 11:18, we see the "Ark of the Testimony" opened in heaven, as a part of the sanctuary images throughout the book.  The Ark of the Covenant, of course, contained the Ten Commandments.  In Revelation 13-14, we see references to the First four commandments of the first Table, showing that in the end time, the final conflict will be over worship, and thus an attack on the God who is worshipped in part by obedience to those first four, and thus including the Sabbath, and the truth of God as our Creator. The Everlasting Covenant will be fulfilled in a people who heed the call to hear, read, and keep the words of this book.

John was imprisoned for the Word of God.  Others are mentioned as being slain for the Word (6:9), beheaded for the Word (20:4), obeying the Word (3:8, 10), and Jesus Himself is described as the Word (19:13) and symbolically having a two-edged sword in His mouth (1:16) a symbol for the Word.  We see this sword in judgment in (2:12, 16,) and (19:15, 21 )  We think of the admonition in James 1.  James 1:21"… and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

We also think of Matthew 7:24. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Obedience is the true test of discipleship.  As Obedience is the fruit of faith, and faith and obedience are gifts from God, we realize that Revelation, as all Scripture, is calling for a people who will "follow Jesus wherever He goes", to utterly depend upon Him for the experience which we can desire, but cannot create, without the miraculous power of God to recreate us in holiness. The theme of Creation and Redemption are utterly linked throughout the book, and will be seen in its ultimate fulfillment as the "earth is lightened with His glory", Revelation 18:1.  His glory is His character, and the depiction of Christ in Revelation 1 is to give us an image of His holiness, His "shekinah glory" which was to be found in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary.

Therein lies another contrast between good and evil.

Rev. 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Rev. 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.

We see a group on the sea of glass, singing the "Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb"

Rev 15:3 And they sing the Song of Moses the servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.

Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest. 

To glorify God is to praise His holiness, and to allow His character to become our own.


Parallels Between Revelation Chapter 1 and Chapters 4-5


Revelation 1

Revelation 4-5

1:10 John was in the Spirit

4:2 John was in the Spirit

1:10 Heard a great voice as of a trumpet

4:1 The first voice as of a trumpet

1:12 Seven golden candlesticks

4:5 Seven lamps of fire

1:4 From the Seven Spirits before the throne

4:5 Before the throne, which are the Seven Spirits of God

1:6 Hath made us kings and priestsunto God

4:4 Hast made us to our God, kings and priests

1:12-17 Description of Jesus

4:2-3 Description of God

1:19 Write the things which shall be hereafter

4:1 I will show thee things which must be hereafter

1:20 An introduction to the sevenChurches

5:1-5 An introduction to the sevenChurches


It becomes clear that both chapters play the role of an introduction.  Chapter 1 is an introduction to the book and the 7 Letters to the 7 Churches.  Chapters 4-5 are an introduction to Christ's Heavenly Sanctuary Ministry and the 7 Seals.

Thus, we also see a pattern emerge in the Book of Revelation.  A pattern of 7 introductory sanctuary scenes, followed by the section of the book that follows.

  • Prologue (1-1:8)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (1:9-20)
  • The messages to the seven churches (Chapters 2-3)


  • Introductory Sanctuary Scene (Chapters 4-5)
  • The opening of the Seven Seals.(6-8:1)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (8:2-5)
  • The blowing of the seven trumpets (8:6-11:18)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (11:19)
  • The wrath of the nations, antichrist, Three Angel's Messages (12-15:4)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (15:5-8)
  • The seven Last Plagues (16-18)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (19:1-10)
  • The eschatological conclusion (19:11-21:1)


  •  Introductory Sanctuary Scene (21:2-8)
  • The New Jerusalem (21:9-22:5


  • Epilogue (22:6-21)

You have movement throughout the Book of Revelation revealing the Yearly Feasts and their spiritual significance.  An understanding of the OT Sanctuary is critical for understanding Revelation, which is depicting Christ's ongoing Heavenly Sanctuary Ministry after His ascension to Heaven.   For example, the first two sanctuary scenes refer to Passover and Pentecost.  What is interesting to note that as in Leviticus 23, which presents the Sabbath in an ongoing way, before introducing the Feasts and Sabbaths, in Revelation 1:10 the "Lord's Day", or the day pertaining to the Lord, or the 7th Day Sabbath, is introduced before the beginning of the sanctuary scenes.  The Bible of course identifies the Sabbath as His holy day, from Creation, to memorialize the day and our Creator, and we see the basis of worship in Heaven in Revelation to be based on the reality of our Creator.  During the reign of Domitian, the Emperor began to seriously seek for worship as divinity, and to have sacred days called the Emperor's Day, or the Imperial Day.  John is declaring His allegiance for the Sabbath, but more importantly, for the Lord of the Sabbath, the Creator.

Thus, the call in Revelation 14:7 for us to participate in such a worship and dependence upon our Creator.  "Worship Him who made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and the fountains of water."  The entire "Everlasting Gospel", symbolized in the Sanctuary symbolism, is based on the love our Creator has for those He created, and thus died for to save.

The number 7 means 'completeness.'  There are many uses of 7 in Revelation.

  • 7 Candlesticks
  • 7 Churches
  • 7 Stars
  • 7 Lamps of fire
  • 7 sealed Book
  • 7 horns and 7 eyes of the Lamb
  • 7 angels with 7 Trumpets
  • 7 Thunders
  • 7 headed Dragon with 7 crowns
  • 7 headed Beast
  • 7 Angels having 7 vials containing the 7 last plagues
  • 7 headed beast, which is said to be 7 mountains and 7 kings
  • 7 Spirits before the throne


The number is obviously being used symbolically to show the perfect, complete work of God in His plan of salvation.

Revelation 1:7. "Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him."

Revelation begins with the ultimate desire, to see Christ return to set up His kingdom forever.  The clouds are angels.  Ps. 68:17. Matthew 25:31.

Revelation ends with the same theme. Revelation 22:20. "Surely I come quickly."


The Godhead

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Rev 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 1:6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation reveals the Three Members of the Godhead, and their total involvement in the salvation of men.

Revelation 1:5 Jesus is described as:

Faithful Witness - Unto Him that loved us

First Begotten of the Dead  - Washed us from our sins in His own blood

Prince of the Kings of the Earth - Made us kings and priests


Jesus accomplished a redemption, a legal justification of the human race, a gift to be received by faith alone.  The reception of that gift is then depicted as the laver in the courtyard the washing of the priest to prepare us for service for Christ.  As Revelation 1:3 states, there are conditions for the receiving of God's gift in Christ.

All three members come in the fullness of the Godhead.  They are divine, one in unity, purpose, character, and all three working for our salvation, in the work they have submissively taken on.


Holy Spirit

Rev. 1:4 the seven Spirits which are before his throne

Rev 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Rev. 5:6 seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Isa 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD

We find seven attributes of the Holy Spirit:

  • Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him
  • Spirit of wisdom
  • And understanding
  • Spirit of counsel
  • And might
  • Spirit of Knowledge
  • And of the fear of the Lord

What is the Holy Spirit?  How does it work to bring about the "glory" of the Lord shining through His people?  Many are questioning, and claiming that the Holy Spirit is an "essence", and not a "being."  They say it is the "spirit of Christ", which it is stated to be, and they therefore state that it is a "personal influence", and thus that is the reason often the Father and the Son are alone shown together,  why only the Father and the Son have a throne, and why only the Father and the Son are stated to have worked out the covenant in Heaven.  Yet this reveals a serious misunderstanding of the nature, work, and position of the Holy Spirit.  The verses above reveal that the Holy Spirit is "before" the throne.  Yet, we read "The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.  In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin.  What line can measure the depths of this love?" Counsels on Health, p. 222.  The Holy Spirit was in agreement with the decision made by the Father and the Son.

"We are to cooperate with the three highest powers in heaven-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost- and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God."  Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, 51.

Each member of the Godhead has agreed to a work as a part of the plan of salvation, and each one requires self-sacrifice.  The Holy Spirit has placed itself under the Father and the Son and agreed to the decision made by the Father and the Son, for Jesus to give himself as an atoning sacrifice for us.  He is totally subservient, does not speak of Himself, and serves the human race.

Yet, we are told that the Holy Spirit is a person and has a personality, (Manuscript 20, 1906), is the Third Person of the Godhead (Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 10, 37), is listed as a part of the baptismal formula (Manuscript 85, 1901) and is said to be a part of the "three persons of the godhead", the three powers of the Godhead", "the three highest powers in heaven", or "in the universe", the "eternal godhead", the three holy dignitaries of heaven", "the three living persons of the heavenly TRIO, "the three holiest beings in heaven, "the three great worthies in heaven."  We are told clearly that the Holy Spirit is a 'being' MR, 7, p. 267.

Why spirit?  How does He work for Christ?  John 6:63. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profited nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."  The words are "spirit" and "life."  Christ is the Word.  John 1:1. The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring to us the life of Christ.  He represents Christ to us by revealing Christ in His Word, and the power of that Word to transform us.  He does so by leading us to conviction of sin, to the cross in repentance of our sins, and then He speaks the word into us, as we agree and surrender our wills to the new birth, through the creative power that made the universe.  Heb 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."  Mat 8:8 "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."  Faith believes that the Word can do what it says or promises and has the power alone to do what it says or promises.


"The creative energy that called the worlds into existence is in the word of God. This word imparts power; it begets life. Every command is a promise; accepted by the will, received into the soul, it brings with it the life of the Infinite One. It transforms the nature and re-creates the soul in the image of God." {Ed 126.4}


The Holy Spirit speaks, teaches, brings to remembrance, shows things to come, comforts, guides into all truth, sanctifies our character by hearing, and hearing   by the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit never violates our free will, and we are called to cooperate by agreeing, being willing, but acknowledging that we cannot, of ourselves, obey, but say "So let it be" or Amen, and God works in us both to do and to will of His good pleasure, and we then work out what He has first worked within.

When we are "filled with the Holy Spirit", we are filled with the Word of God, the promises of God, the love of God.  (Romans 5:5).  The Holy Spirit works with us to form a Christlike character, and thus, as Revelation 18:1 says, the "whole earth will be lightened with His glory", or the character of God, revealed through His saints.

Thus, the recommendation to Laodicea, in Revelation 3:14, is to receive the "Amen", the "beginning of the creation of God", or the originating force of Creation, which was in Christ.  Laodicea is to learn righteousness by faith, and thus full dependence on Christ for what they cannot do for themselves, to trust in a miracle, to receive an unspeakable gift, to experience the Everlasting Gospel, and to be progressively sanctified by the Word of God.


Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Psalms 33:9 For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.


Laodicea in essence is told that they are not truly converted, and need to learn the power of total dependence upon Christ for a miracle they cannot do themselves, and thus the power of the Word in the Gospel.  As we see in Revelation 14, such a group at the end of time learns the lessons, and "follows Jesus wherever He goes", and preaches the Three Angel's Messages in power.

Here are some very helpful resources that you may use in your study of Revelation.  We are urged to study this book very seriously.

~ Tom Cusack


Resources - Online  This is extremely useful.


Resources – Books

The Gospel in Revelation – Robert Wieland, Glad Tiding Publishers

Understanding Daniel and Revelation – P.G. Temple, The Foundations and Pillars Ministry (Distributed by Vance Ferrell, Pilgrim's Rest)

Revelation Reveals Jesus – Volume One and Two – Kenneth Mathews, Jr., Second Coming Publishing

Revelation of Jesus Christ – Ranko Stefanovic, Andrews University Press


Resources – Tapes

Revelation – John Paulien, The Bible Explorer, Audiocassette Series.tom