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The Gospel From Patmos

FIRST QUARTER 2019

SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #1

JANUARY 5, 2019

“THE GOSPEL FROM PATMOS”

 

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 priests unto 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 seven Churches

5:1-5 An introduction to the seven Churches

 

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

http://waitarachurch.org.au/understanding-revelation/  This is extremely useful.

http://www.revelationbibleprophecy.org/

http://www.unlocking-revelation.info/index.php

http://www.explordanrev.com/wp/6-2/

 

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