The best way to grow in strength and in wisdom is to share. When we share with others our beliefs and truths, we intensify the same thought within us. God calls us all to be evangelists, to bring others to greater thought.
I stumbled upon an answer that I had been desperately searching for in my study of bible truths. My struggle was focused on why women can’t be pastors. I must confess that as a young christian I was excited for the opportunity to one day preach as a pastor. I envisioned myself in that role with a touch of joy, hope and a little pride. It would have been fascinating to share my faith and understanding with many more people, so much so that I actually looked forward to the opportunity. Prayers formed in my lips to God that if he gave me a platform, I would happily speak his word. That was until I learnt that women cannot be pastors and then I faced this with great doubt and lack of understanding. Why? I wondered. Why can’t women preach?
Many days I decided to take God at His word even though He was yet to give me understanding. I said that, ‘if God thinks it is right then I will believe in and live by it’. I was willing to accept it simply because they were words of the bible and actions God Himself set in place through history. It was still hard because soon I started to wonder what I could do. Could I teach? Could I evangelise? Could I even hold a discussion? I also started to wonder if there was something fundamentally wrong with me as a woman. Could I be trusted? Was I clever enough? Am I like Eve, capable of misleading? Am I still under a curse as a woman? In truth I still haven’t answered all these questions but God inspired me with a thought.
He is a God of honour! A spark hit when I remembered that God keeps true to His words and His promises and His plans and for His sake, and ours, He remains faithful. The man was put in that position first. Adam was told before Eve, he was to take responsibility for the relationship of mankind towards honouring God’s words. Both man and woman are same, but man was given that task before all else. God is faithful to this and He desires to have men with the heart that he built them for. That they be the bridge to honouring God and keeping God’s word. Through truth, love, kindness, humility and devotion they should be the leaders guiding all else because God honours His design.
Then I started seeing how loving God is to all, even me as a woman. The woman is in no way left out in the service and purpose of God. More so, we are a great representation of a perfect family striving, through the man, towards God’s heart. We give the heart its purpose and emphasis the love that God has for all. If a man can learn to love a woman whole heartedly with self-sacrifice and love, we get closer to understanding God’s own love for us. I see myself not as less because of this one fact but actually empowered by it. God is teaching us something very important about his character through man and woman existing together. Genesis 1:27 comes to mind, ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’ We are on this earth to learn to love and learn to live and a great way is by understanding God’s image which is clearly presented in the union of man and woman. That is why it is even doubly important for man to marry one wife and vice versa. And even more important that man marries woman and not man or woman woman.
God is God of honour and He has laid the world together with the dear aim of our rescue from our fallen nature to the path of peace with HIm. It is a journey of understanding and intelligence that can only be achieved by fearing God enough to humble ourselves and learn. There is much more He will teach us and much more understanding we will gain, but step by step He ensures that we came out of the experience free. Children of freedom! Free from sin and the persuasion to sin. So, as hard as it may be to accept without understanding, God is mightily right and good. I would rather learn from God than self.
There is still a lot more to understand of course. The bible is constantly unwinding itself giving us more and more wisdom if we become more and more humble. But I have come to the conclusion that HE is right! He is our shepherd leading us to life giving waters!
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Revelation is a hard book to understand if you don’t go into it with a humble heart. Don’t stick to preconceived notions or even try to defend what you think is right. Read the book to be guided to places you have never been and never even thought of. The best student of the bible is one who is open to the truths revealed, prays earnestly and reads with a humble heart that can easily be moulded. Because we can trust the bible. We can let it defend itself. And we can believe in what it says because it has been proven that all is for our ‘GOOD.’
This considered, I came across the 144,000 of the book of revelation and my mouth dropped. The very first time I read it, as a child, I was certain that only 144,000 people will be accepted into heaven. And, as a child, while I still believed there was some hope for me, I knew it would be a difficult task. I could already count many people in the bible who already had their seat in heaven. The Daniel’s, the Joseph’s, the David’s, great warriors of God, the prophets and even the many common people who truly believed. But I thought that this was right and that somehow, we were going to have to squeeze ourselves into heaven.
Thank God I was wrong.
How cruel would God have been to tell us the exact number and then keep the number so small.
No. The prophecy of the 144,000 is much more special than even I realised. Let me present to you all the text on this group and then I will give my opinion, humbly. I would love an opportunity to debate the ideas and hopefully help one another get more insight.
Revelation 7:1-8. The 144,000 And The Tribes
1And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Isreal.
5Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. OF the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 14:1-5. The 144,000 And The Lamb
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Now, the first thing that I noticed was the first verse of chapter 7. There were four angels about to do something but they were held back. Something else had to be accomplished first and this is the placing of the seal of God. The seal of God will be placed in their foreheads and also on their hands, but there is greater emphasis on the head in this case and even in chapter fourteen. Now, the seal of God is further emphasized in Chapter fourteen where it says ‘they were not defiled’ and they are ‘without fault’. Women, biblically, does not always mean an actual woman. And definitely, in the case of prophecy books like Revelation, the woman represents a church. The church of God is seen as a pure woman, consider Revelation 19:7-8, ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.’ The church then is represented as a woman. And those who did not defile themselves with other women are those who did not follow the false beliefs of other churches, contrary to God. They are also without fault. Now, all these is quite impossible to do. We have to admit that from the moment of birth of a Christian, they are faced with many temptations and fall for many ruses. The bible also clarifies that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So, how are they faultless? We are brought to the most important aspect of salvation. Jesus Christ! An elder in Revelation 7:14 points this out. ‘…These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ The seal of God must carry with it the truth of Christ. And this seal will be placed on the 144,000 of the tribes of Judah.
That was the second thing that I noticed. The tribes of Judah? Is the bible really saying that salvation is only for Israelites? Of course not, because the same bible says that salvation is for all peoples. This is further proven in the same book of Revelation just a few verses down when John gets to see another vision. A vision that finally puts the 144,000 and the tribes into perspective.
Revelation 7:9 The Multitude
9 After this 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.
John says that he beheld and lo there was a great multitude which no man could number of all those who will go to heaven. They will come from all the earth and of all people. Reading this verse, I again asked myself what the point was for telling us about the 144,000. God must have had something he wanted to say and it has to do with the tribes of Israel. Confusing. And maybe the number is just spiritual or heavenly-action or promise-oriented and not something that man can understand. Then I noticed something weird. In verse 4 of chapter seven, he says that he heard the number , he didn’t see it. But then in verse 9, he clearly sees the multitude, having been brought forward in time. Which means he couldn’t see the 144,000 because they are not an actual physical number. Later on in chapter 14 he sees them now. But he sees something added as well. A lamb. And the 144000 with the name of God written in their heads. This means that he sees them with the seal of God already put on them. Now, I started turning between the chapters and the chapters within to understand what it means. I came to the conclusion that a certain amount of time had passed between these two visions. The seals were now set, the people were already judged across the earth and proof of that judgement could be seen in heaven already. So, are the 144,000 in heaven? No. Once again it is a spiritual or heavenly-action or promise-oriented number because verse 2 of chapter 14 clarifies that it is not physical again. Here he hears the voice of harpers and he also hears the voice from heaven. I started distinguishing places in the book of Revelation where John says he hears and he sees. Shockingly, the power of God was impressed on me. God was with the prophecy, following, guiding and speaking, from the very moment John was in vision. I also learned that it is significant, what he sees and what he hears. There are certain things even John could not see or understand, particularly God speaking, and there are actual times when it pointed to an understanding separate from the physical. So we end up back at my belief that the number is a spiritual or heavenly-action or promise-oriented number and not physical. The best proof of this is the fact that The Three Angel’s Messages, which I covered already, comes immediately after the verses mentioned in Chapter 14 proving that man is still on earth.
So, what is the significance of the tribes? The number clearly represents the sealed of God while still on earth, proving that a time will come when many will outrightly reject the gospel while others cling to it. Many call this time, ‘the end of probation.’ But I am not certain of that subject enough to speak on it. But, back to the tribes. Are they important? Yes. God is very loving and he puts information in the bible that will help us in our trusting of him. I choose to see the number in all the three ways presented. First, Spiritually; There is a mark that will be placed on all of us. And who is incharge of it? God. So that no one will doubt Him and which further proves that the judgement already took place. People are shocked with this idea, but I absolutely believe that the judgement has already taken place. All are already judged. Why else would Jesus say in Revelation 22:12, ‘And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ We are already judged and our gifts already set and, after Jesus comes, there will be no more judge and jury but simply an acceptance of the actions of your life. Jesus himself says that some will rise to life and others to death. Daniel 12:2, ‘And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ This means that a relationship with God is vital as pointed out in John 4:24, ‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.’ The spiritual aspect of our salvation is crucial. We cannot say we are saved and continue in our old ways, exposing our spirit to the evil of the world. We must turn away from the world by avoiding the entertainment of the world, the practices of the world and the believes of the world that damage our spirit, our relationship with God. We must also build that relationship through prayer, bible study like crazy, and faith in Jesus. And who will help us? God, because he already knows the exact spiritual number of the sealed.
Second truth of the number is that it is heavenly-action based. There are things happening in heaven. The angels, the elders, the beasts, Jesus and God are not just sitting around waiting for the time to pass by. Jesus is involved in intercession and temple work as is evident in the very popular verse of Daniel 8:14, ‘And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Counting the dates of the prophetic numbers leads you to the year 1844, which has long past. It is clear that nothing to otherworldly happened on that day, proving that the action was in heaven. On earth it allowed for the final establishment of God’s true word and the creation of God’s final church. Just like the disciples and the protestants before them, this church had truths awakened in it by God himself and was set aside for God’s purpose. That is why the Seventh Day Adventist church is the only one that can defend itself before God because it follows the bible. Other than that we couldn’t see the heavenly sanctuary and likewise the actions of the sealing are not in our view. The seal therefore will not be physical like a tattoo, barcode, inserted chip, anything we eat or drink, a country, a manner of dressing or even a skin colour. The seal is only visible to God and his angels, not us. The action of sealing likewise can only be done by the heavens and not mankind. Don’t go to anyone so that they can place the seal on you or believe that any man has the ability to guarantee heaven for you in any way. Pray to God alone.
The third truth which I absolutely love most of all is the Promise-oriented view. Abraham was given a promise and God made it a point to repeat the promise to him several times.
Genesis 12:2, 15:5, 17:4,7 Promises To Abraham
2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.
5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
4As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
7And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to they seed after thee.
This is powerful stuff. Abraham was given a promise that he will be the father of many nations because he believed and had faith in God. God placed a covenant with Abraham that HE would be his God forever. And this covenant would be spread on to all the generations that come from Abraham. There are many other promises that God spoke that are so precious for us to think on. Did Abraham succeed? Yes! In many ways he might have lost faith but God is a God of Grace and Abraham passed when he was willing to sacrifice his only son for the love he had for God. Very few people can do that now and many people make fun of the great act by this great man when it must have taken great strength from Abraham. Was God truthful? Definitely! Isaac came along and then Jacob and then the twelve tribes and then a nation and then Mosses and then the conquering of their promised land and then the kings, the prophets and even to this day God was faithful to Abraham. But there is more to the promise of Abraham, otherwise we would say only the Jews can be saved. Many people are divided on racial lines when God never noticed race and even the people of old never noticed race. There is no superior race or inferior race, we are all the same in our heart and in our mind which are the things that God sees. The physical appearance has been a stumbling block for people and in it, like Solomon said, is all vanity. The truth is only with God and he does not respect any particular groups or people as these verses will prove. Galatians 3:28, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Therefore the promise of Abraham is as Paul describes it in Romans 4:16, ‘Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,’ for everyone. Paul wasn’t speaking to Jews or Israelites but to Romans, proving that we all, who believe in Jesus, became part of the great covenant of God. Does God prove this? Yes! The seals are given according to the tribes that resulted from his great promise; the tribes that formed the great nation of God as we will form in heaven. God is faithful almost to a fault because the imagery he uses is absolutely beautiful. He numbers us among his great promise, in his great covenant, no one is outside of God’s love once saved; we all are part of the tribes of God from Abraham. How wonderful! We can rest assured in our position of favour in heaven.
God is very truthful, God is very loyal, God is very faithful and he emphasises this beautifully in the number 144,000. It is not an actual number since all those who enter heaven will be impossible to count, an entire multitude. And also, no one will enter heaven who isn’t sealed in the mind and hand. But it does represent God’s care for his truth and his name. He will spiritually place a seal on us and the sealed are represented by the 144,000. It also represents the actions in heaven of placing the seal proving that the seal is not an earthly, visible or physical thing but only achieved by God. And most beautifully, the seal of God makes us part of his great covenant to Abraham. As part of his great promise, he will always be our God because we are part of Abraham’s seed and the tribes of promise.
I pray that we will all come to experience the true love of this God. I know I am eternally grateful that he is with me as with the promise he gave Abraham. He is my God and he will keep me and us all for all eternity. Amen.
There is something else that I found interesting that I should point out now. When Jacob, Israel, was about to die, he gathered up all his children and pronounced blessings on them. They are very powerful blessings and characters of the tribes of Israel that I wanted to, also, help us understand the love of God in using the tribes. Of course it doesn’t mean that we must act or believe in specific blessings, follow only the truth of God which is love. But I feel there is a hidden scriptural and spiritual truth to these blessings that I haven’t yet known. Please feel free to weigh in.
Genesis 49:2-28 The Blessings To The Tribes
2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob: and hearken unto Israel You father.
3Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
4Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel: because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed: then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
6O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
9Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
11Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
12His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
13Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an heaven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
15And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
16Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
18I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
19Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
21Naphatali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob: from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:
25Even by the God of they father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
26The blessings of thy father have prevailed abobe the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the brown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them: every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
Nothing in this age will make us sad,
If Christ makes us happy in the character of His glory.
There is no other name that our joy should rest on. There is no other fountain from which our life flows. There is no other shepherd who lovingly holds his sheep like Jesus. If there is something that cheers my soul it’s that God gave me the sight of his son, he chose me to believe in Jesus. And through Jesus there is righteousness and life eternal and the only way we can see God. How wonderful he is! It is no wonder then that the whole bible is a revelation of Jesus. Many books of the bible claim this immediately and others act as types that reveal the saviour to us. The book of Revelation, likewise, sees a declaration by John, through God’s inspiration, that it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It literally says that! In Revelation 1:2 it says, ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:’
I decided then to find parts of revelation that most reveal Christ’s so that we can be once again shaken by the love of God in giving us Christ. Then we can once again draw ourselves nearer to God with wisdom and understanding.
Revelation 1:1-2 The Testimony of Jesus Christ
1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Consider the meaning of the testimony of Jesus Christ. He was there from the day of creation and will be there to the last, even into eternity. He has seen God’s creation broken by sin and then uplifted through the believing of Him. There is no greater testimony.
Revelation 1:5-8 The Truth About Jesus Christ
5And 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,
6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of all earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
What can I say about these great verses? Take keen care in mastering every single word because in them are greater truths than the very presence of the earth. Jesus is our Lord who loved us and has set us apart to be receivers of his will. He also repeats again that he is Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, The beginning and the Ending, Which is and Which Was, so we would know he is true.
Revelation 1:12-18 The Sight of Jesus Christ
12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Sometimes in our struggle to understand the bible, the cultures and traditions of this world interfere. Who is Jesus? What is Jesus? Why did he die on the cross? Without a proper understanding of the bible, none of these questions will be answered. From this imagery we must believe one truth, Jesus is divine and he is also as the Son of man. What proves that he is divine? His countenance was as the sun shineth in this strength. John may not have had adequate words to explain the splendour of what he saw. But John fell before him as if dead because of the magnificence of a God. And yet he was once dead and now lives on, because he is divine.
Jesus is truly divine, a God. But he is also the Son of man. For our sake he gave up his heavenly glory and appearance to take on our form so that he would always be one with us, our brother. And the sharp sword out of his mouth is the very word of God that proves Jesus is divine. What is more shocking is that the image presented of Jesus in Revelation is identical to the one seen by Daniel (Daniel 10:5-10) who lived over 500 years before John.
Revelation 5:5-6 The Lamb Jesus Christ
5And one of the elders saith unto me, 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.
6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
I implore you to read chapter 4 and 5 in great detail because Heaven is opened up and John becomes only man in history to see it and share it. And it answers one burning question that human beings have. Who is in heaven? First and most obvious is God, who sits on the throne. Then the beasts of heaven are present which I cannot even pretend to explain other than ‘what is God’s is above us.’ There are also many many many angels more than can be counted beyond the seats of the elders. Then there are the twenty-four elders, who are actual men in heaven. Moses and Elijah were taken up to heaven, as well as Enoch. Maybe they are part of the elders. Jesus resurrected some people up with him too, and that is the last time that anyone has ever gone up to heaven. So then we know for certain that there are only twenty-four people in heaven, all other human beings not alive today are not in heaven. They are asleep in graves with no notion of time, love, worship or even identity. This also includes people who were alive when Jesus died on the cross because Jesus only raised the dead. We see this in Matthew 27:50-53, ‘Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.’ This means then that Peter, John and the other disciples are not in heaven. Likewise, Mary the mother of Jesus and all other followers of Jesus at the time are not in heaven. This is the same for anyone born since. But the twenty four elders are included in the telling so that we can know that indeed Jesus can raise men and have them sit right before God with true righteousness.
After this viewing of those in heaven, a dilemma arises. God presents a book in his right hand, but the book is sealed. It is sealed with seven seals that no one on heaven, earth and below it can open and read the contents. John cries because he knows the book is very important. It is the history of the world, the testimony of earth and judgement. But an elder tells him that there is one who can open it, one who is truly worthy. And it is only Jesus, the lamb that died for our sins. He earned honour and glory and worth and praise. Amen.
Revelation 7:14 The Blood of the Lamb
14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
How do you get to heaven? Well, John has seen amazing things in heaven and one of them is the sight of a great multitude which no man can number standing before the throne of God. An elder asks him who these people are and he says rightly that the elder knows. And what does the elder say is the most important character of those who go to heaven? They washed their robes, making them white in the blood of the Lamb. Now, you can’t wash something dirty in blood and end up with something white let alone clean. It refers to the righteousness that can only be attained through believing in Christ. You do not need money, or to do anything good or even to change the world. Accept your fallen nature that only hungers to do evil and then receive of Christ his righteousness. Believe that Christ sacrificed his life for you and is trading his holy ways for your lost ones. Then you are no longer bound to sin but have become a servant of good.
Revelation 7:17 The Love of the Lamb and of The Father
17For 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.
The conversation between John and the elder continues when the elder reveals what will became of those taken up into heaven. Then, we get to see afresh, even until the last book of the bible, the love that the Godhead has for us. Jesus will feed us and lead us into living fountains of water, which is everlasting life. And God himself will wipe away all our tears. Jesus said that he came on earth so that through him you would know the father. And how did Jesus do this? By this simple thing, that there is no one capable of such a love and self-sacrifice as Jesus. Try to compare this to what we see today. The rich don’t mind that others are dying and starving. The corporation’s don’t care if their activities kill off all the worlds’ forests, animals and even its people. We live in a world today were alcohol is sold freely even though many are deeply hurt by its effects. We live in a world where some are tossed into prison without fault and others are killed without fault and many laugh at their misfortune. Worst of all, we live in a world without the love that would seek to keep safe the treasured gift of the womb. Christ allowed himself to be brutally killed. He allowed himself to live in great poverty. He never accepted power to rule even when they were desperate to make him King. He went about healing and doing good sometimes to places were people insulted him and chased him away. But he never answered back in anger. He let his truth be his teaching, his love and his way. This is God. This is the image of great love that he wanted us to see of God. We would never understand God until we accept him first as Jesus showed. Loving.
Revelation 11:15 Christ The King
15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
One day there will be no more presidents, as we know them now. No more selfishness of nations and no more war for foolish reasons. When God finally says enough… This world will be forgotten. So, whom should you fear? The bible declares, fear God and seek Him.
Revelation 12:7-11 Christ The Conqueror
7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8And prevailed not; neither was there place found any more in heaven.
9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which decieveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony and they loved no their lives unto death.
There was war in heaven! It is strange to imagine that there was actually war in heaven. And this is because the devil was strongly against the supremacy of Christ, as he perceived it. The Story of Redemption by Ellen G. White tells of a being that wanted to cast himself above Christ and, further on, above God. He wanted to rule all creation even his creator. And it is because he felt that the ways of God were wrong seeing as he decided to put Christ above them. The devil at this time was one of the Chief angels even called Lucifer, the morning star. But Christ was with the Father from the very beginning. And this truth of their existence and ways was something that angels could not understand. Then the creation of mankind was the tipping point that brought war to heaven.
Now, the war of heaven was not a physical war with spells and explosions but rather a war of words or truths. Obviously anything that actually, literally, fights with the God that created it will be destroyed. But the devil wasn’t destroyed, only cast out of heaven instead. You could then say that the war was like a great debate. Jesus presents his side of the argument and the devil his. And, because the ways of God are true, the side of Jesus won. We cannot even imagine what those truths were that Jesus had to defend.
But then we are presented with another dilemma in heaven. God had his ways that could never change and yet the devil had presented new ideas. And God, being eternal, could not allow this eternity for Him and His creations, to be plagued with doubt over who was right. In a sense, he had to prove that his ways were true and good. Then man was created and he is a being that had the capacity, unlike His angels, to understand Him. The devil then, cast out, had free reign on earth to put in place his policies, his ways, his beliefs and even his kingship. The angels, still in heaven, now watched with anticipation to know who was right. Then they watched in shock as the devil brought only disaster, secrecy, envy, cruelty, hate and superstition on earth. And all those who followed God, in understanding, instead found good, self-control, self-denial, patience, kindness, love, and a reverence of God. Then God proved himself further by providing Salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ. Mankind then could chose to align themselves with the true, kind, peaceful and loving ways of God. By the blood of the Lamb they overcame the evils of the world. And mankind further helped the angels understand God, ensuring that there will never ben conflict again. That said, even we humans must be convinced of the same. For what would be the benefit of us going to heaven and starting another war over ideas? We must be willing to understand God even in the little way that we do because no one is truly capable of understanding the creator. And God makes it easy for us. When we see the wickedness of the world we know that we cannot rely on man or the devil. When we see what man has done to the beauty of the world, our minds open further. And when we read his word and see the goodness of God we realise what he is all about. Love. Above all, Love.
Revelation 12:17 The Truth About the Devil
12And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
‘The word and the word alone,’ this has been said many times in history and every time it has been said, blood followed. People, in thousands, have been murdered brutally and in great anger because of their desire to follow God. We cannot even accurately number how many. But imagine this; the devil, now cast out of heaven and his ways proving vicious and cruel unlike God’s, would not want a sign of God’s truth here on earth. If God’s truth lingered on earth, other people would be awakened and choose to follow in God’s ways. So he has brutally targeted all those who keep God’s commandments, because the keepers of such have the seal of God in their mind. This means that their character is being transformed, their habits, their loves, their passions and even their words. They are becoming loving, kind, peaceful, and reverent sharers of God’s word that has brought them joy. The devil would not let this stand. He will trick the people, the government and all those who are far from God that such are the enemy. What follows is countless death of martyrs who are later ridiculed or forgotten. But, Christ will come again. And all those who have done such evils will have to face the anger of a loving God.
Revelation 13:8 The Fate of Those Who Remain With Their Sins
8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.
When Christ comes, and God has proven the goodness of his ways, what things will happen to those who did not believe in him or keep his commandments? This verse is very clear. Even those who will not have their names written in the book of life will see the Lordship of Christ and worship him. Their error will be revealed to them and the goodness of Christ will also be revealed. No one will be able to deny it because those saved will share their testimony of life with Christ. Every knee shall indeed bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.
Further more, what about the knowledge that Christ was slain from the foundation of the earth. What this means is that God saw ahead and so did Christ, even before they created mankind or God called out ‘Let there be light’. They knew that mankind was doomed to error. So Christ agreed to be sacrificed for our sake even before we were created. Such a love! Instead of forgoing our creation, he chose still to create us even though he knew he would suffer in our hands, because of our unbelief and all the countless horrors that man has done. He still chose to have us and, in it, to die for us.
Revelation 14:1,4,12 Christ Calls His Own To Him
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
12Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
John looks on another great sight. Christ, standing on mount Zion, with all those whom he has redeemed. Because the only way that a race of fallen men can then be considered virgins, having not been touched by other beliefs, is through Christ. The only way that they can be said to follow Christ everywhere he goes is also through Christ. There will be no boaster in heaven. Now, 144,000 is a prophetic number that we cannot possibly know. Do not lose hope and believe only this number will be in heaven. No, the bible says that there will be a great magnitude that no one can number. This seal reveals some other aspect of God’s character that we are yet to know. I believe that it represents God seal, being a perfect number of all those who believe in Christ. With this vision, we see, that Christ will call his own to him. Even now he is calling many to him, to believe in him because he makes intercession with the father for our sake. Join the number by seeking God and keeping these beautiful commandments.
Revelation 15:3-4 The Judgement of God is Just
3And 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.
4Who 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 judgements are made manifest.
Who is saying these words? It is those in heaven with God after Christ’s second coming! The thousand years, millennium, comes after Christ’s second coming and gives the saints of God a chance to judge, in heaven, and prove that God judged well. Then they will say these wonderful words, even with the knowledge that many people they knew and many people of earth chose not to follow Christ and will have no eternity. They will prove God as just because God is just. He will not judge unfairly any man that ever lived. In fact, for the saints who believe in Christ, he says that your sins will never be remembered. He won’t take all your good and divide it or compare it with all your bad. What good are you capable of if you are still doing bad things? He will not consider the good of the long dead or even of your parents once you are of age. He will look at your heart and judge wisely. Paul puts it best in Romans, one of the best books to read. He says that if you see your friend doing wrong and judge them in your heart, you already know right from wrong even without the commandments. So, if you do that which you judged as wrong, you are likewise judged. Also if you know God’s law and choose not to keep it, you are also a sinner even if you proclaim that you follow Christ. So how must we live? Understand your fallen nature, believe in Christ and that no money, no good works or actions that you do will give you salvation, by Christ’s resurrection also believe that you are righteous, then you are no longer under sin, instead you are a servant of righteousness. After baptism or prayer of repentance, don’t stress with thoughts of what can I do to maintain my salvation. It is yours freely. There is nothing you can do but believe. Don’t trouble your heart by constantly judging yourself through the law or other laws you may put up. They will not give you or add on your salvation. Simply believe that because Christ is, you are righteous before God. When God sees you, He remembers your sins no more. Then you have the victory, and are truly under Grace. After this you allow your body to die, all its lust and evil desires, and live for righteousness. And this literally means doing the very good of the law. Keeping the law. You are moved to it through Christ because he becomes your husband and you live always to follow in his ways. Those are now the good fruits. They are fruits that are not borne of a desire to draw yourself to God but because God has drawn himself to you. They are works that are not done to earn favour or praise or recognition from heaven or earth, but simply because you are under the Spirit and do as the Spirit directs you. You desire nothing from God but live for him because you know that he has accepted you wholly. It’s a hard concept to grasp so pray for understanding and God will make it clear. Because then you are truly free. Then, you will cherish the goodness of Christ and his salvation that allows you to grow from strength to strength in the fullness of his Spirit.
Revelation 19:11-16 The Just Anger of Christ Our Lord
11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word Of God.
14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16And he hath on his vesture and his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
This is the sight of Jesus prepared for battle, going forth to tread the winepress of God’s wrath. Of course, most of Revelation is symbolic. For instance, a sword must have something to do with the bible or God’s truth. The fine linen, white and clean, is all about righteousness. A rod of iron is about the truth of God’s word. But this time, he really is going out to war with the people who would not believe in him. After the thousand years these people would have been proven guilty, as God had judged. Then Christ, who gave freely salvation through his own death and suffering, will have just right to destroy all those who would not believe. Hell is this destruction. And Hell will not last forever as most think but rather all the sinners will be burned, according to their sin, until they extinguish. Never again will they exist. Never will there be thought of them. Never will God change his mind and return them. They will be like chaff blown in the wind never to be seen again, and this is the true anger of whom you must fear. Fear God.
Revelation 21:22 God And Christ Will Be Our Temple
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lam are the temple of it.
Once Christ convicts you in your heart that you are his, saved by him, then chapter 21 of Revelation makes you smile. John gets to see Jerusalem come out of heaven and settled on earth. It will be a great city where the righteous of Christ will walk within. It is made purely of gold; even the streets are gold. And jewels make the foundation of the wall. The gates are of pearl and there are fountains of life giving water flowing straight from God through the city. In Chapter 22 we see that the tree of life will be inside the city and all are welcome to it. What beauty! The city, properly measured, will be larger than the whole continent of America being 1500 miles of length, width and height. Amazing! But what is most amazing of all is that there will be no more temples. Now, I had to ask myself what a temple really means. Isn’t it a place where you go to be forgiven of your sins as was done during the time of Moses and the Kings? Aren’t there partitions where normal men couldn’t enter, only priests. Of course Jesus abolished this system with his death, now all are welcome to pray directly to the Father without the need of an intercessor or an earthly forgiver of sins. So God and Jesus will be the temple. I may still not fully understand it myself but I feel renewed just struggling to imagine it. They will be our source of all life, validation, truth, joy and all. We will worship them directly face to face as God intended, with a great relationship. Jesus says it best in John 15:13-15, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.’ We will be friends of God.
Revelation 22:12-16 Jesus’ Truth
12And, behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
What are Christ’s parting words to John before the end of his visions? They are truths that he keeps and shares again and again with us throughout the whole bible.
Christ is going to come and the tides are changing so that the day is closer than we think. When he comes, he brings his reward to give according to every man’s work. So if you learn the truth of God and sit on it, without sharing, you will have less treasure in heaven. And likewise if you do not seek true understanding of God by immersing yourself in his word and changing your character, you will have less treasure. And also if you don’t sacrifice your body and seek to have the mind of God, you will have less treasure in heaven. There are great men who have allowed God to transform them wholly in mind and body towards the ways of God. They did not fear death and boldly spoke about God’s truth to many people. Their reward is theirs rightly. And Jesus proclaims this again. But be of good cheer, as Christ says, he overcame and you will also. So deny your self and the Spirit will definitely lead you to have these fruits and do these works.
Jesus points out again who he is. He is divine. Let no one cheat you that Jesus is only man or was never man. Let no one cheat you that Jesus did not die or was not born under sin. Let no one cheat you that Jesus is not your salvation, your intercessor and your heavenly friend. That is the work of the devil, to belittle Jesus so we would not rightly believe in Him. Jesus is divine. He was there at the creation of the world. He was born a man to draw men closer to him. He died to give us salvation. He rose again to prove his strength and justify our faith. And he sits at the Father’s right hand praying for us as our intercessor.
Then Jesus ensures another blessing, which also points to his commandments. God’s commandment then is truly in trouble if we are so reminded of it through Christ’s own words. In today’s age people are desperate to throw away the commandments. Why? Well, because they don’t want to deny themselves the pleasure of this sinful world. But search and you will find that His commandments are good. So keep them all, for they are (Exodus 20:1-17):
- Have no other gods but God and serve him only.
- Make no image of anything, to worship or kneel before, in any likeness of things in heaven, things on earth, things in the ocean or things of the devil.
- Don’t take God’s name in vain by tarnishing his image or mocking his goodness because he will not consider you guiltless if you do this.
- Keep the Sabbath, which is Saturday, and declare boldly that it is your day to be with the Lord in rest because he created all the earth and the things in them in six days and rested on the seventh thereby blessing the day and making it holy.
- Honour your father and mother and your days on earth will be longer.
- Do not kill.
- Do not commit adultery, which is really broad and includes, having sex with others beside your marriage partner, having sex outside marriage, having sex with more than one person and being sexually immoral or lustful.
- Do not steal.
- Do not bear false witness about another, even in gossip.
- Do not covet, or desire, anything that belongs to your neighbour. Not his house, money, wife, husband, car, goods, character, physical beauty, workers and literally anything that is your neighbours.
And these are the full ten commandments of God that were written by his own finger. Study them and you will see that they are only good. So Jesus points out rightly that those who keep His commandments will have access to the tree of life. They will live forever because they have understood God’s ways. Outside the city are all sorts of people who have not understood God in the slightest, they will perish in the fire and never enter the city and get the to tree of life.
Jesus reminds us again that he wants us, loves us and is very willing to save us. And this is why he sent his angel to give John the message. And it is also why he says again that he is the root of David. He made himself man for our sake, giving up his heavenly form as a spirit for our sake. And because of this great sacrifice, he is the bright and morning star, truly divine.
The bible is beautiful. If you read it with prayer and with the Spirit, it becomes the greatest love story ever told. The greatest story really. God is love and through his word we see this love. Through Christ we see this love. How blessed we are that we have such a God.
Imagine if someone finds you in prison, your whole body bound incapable of even moving a hand to free yourself. Then this person comes and opens up the chains and sets you free. Then he gives you the key to the whole prison so you can walk out through the main door, in everyone’s sight, and on to freedom. More than that, he comes after you, and gives you land, a house, and a livelihood so you can live well. Then he spends time with you, day and night, teaching you the proper character so that you are never taken back to prison again. Then he makes it so that all your sins are gone, vanished, and the prison itself is destroyed and burned away. Isn’t that love?
But you see Jesus walk into the prison to unchain you and say; ‘I have no chains and also, I am quite fine, leave me alone.’ You see Jesus giving you the key out of the prison and say, ‘I saw another key, I think I will use that instead.’ You see Jesus offer you land and a livelihood and say, ‘Let me live as I desire, now that I am free.’ You see Jesus start to spend time with you to teach you good ways and you say, ‘I can do it myself; in fact, I can gain heaven by my own strength. Watch me.’ What can Jesus Do?
REVELATION 11-15 ; The words that bring gladness to every ear that hears it.
15-And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
The book of Revelation, in the bible, is one of the most fascinating reads of my life. Of course, I didn’t understand any of it at first until I found a book by Robert J. Wieland that helped put most of it into perspective. Then it became unbelievable, all the things it talks about. I couldn’t believe that such a book was sitting right under my nose for years with barely any interest on my part. But even after this discovery, I must say, that it has still been slow getting into the word of God. The bible is the greatest story ever told but it’s not just a storybook. The words, the wisdom, the sayings, the lessons are more profound than we could ever understand and it does take time to understand it. So, after being annoyed to discover that pastors can actually lie to us, I decided to know the real truth of the bible for myself. I wanted to know what was true and what wasn’t. I found a couple of old books and with pen in hand, I divided every single book I read into key parts. These are parts like, ‘promises from God’, ‘God’s and Christ’s authority’, ‘repeated sayings like verily verily’, ‘Mentions of grace’, ‘mentions of truth’, ‘mentions of God’s spirit’ and more. And I made sure that I had a King James Bible just so I could get the original words without any alterations by churches or other people’s understanding. My head has never been happier and my heart has never been as free.
In my effort to really understand its teachings, the same bible convinced me to dedicate myself fully to God through prayer and fasting. I fasted for two weeks by avoiding solid food, television, even preaching and funny clips on YouTube. Then, like angels were revealing them to me, the truths started making sense. The whole bible started making more sense than all the sense in the world. There is no part that was against the other in the whole bible. I was so shocked with the intelligent, caring, vibrant splendour of the books I have read. And so far, I have only read five books. I started out with John, which is my favourite book. Then, because I turned the page and it was there, I dove into Acts of the Apostles, which was very encouraging. Then I returned back to Luke and the character of Jesus’ love shined even brighter. After this I decided to do as Jesus instructs and know the ‘times’. So I went straight away to Daniel and was lost in creatively trying to understand the mystery. It was so challenging and even more frightening. The whole world was held in that tiny book and I saw that history and the future written there, just a little beyond my understanding. But thank God for his pastors, because this is when I watched many of the prophetic teachings on Youtube. Pastors like Walter Weith, Doug Batchelor and a whole other wealth of knowledge was there. Together, I got a handle of Daniel and decided to complete the effect by a thorough self read of Revelation.
I normally don’t write much about myself in this way but I feel like it is necessary to share testimony that will help encourage us all.
After my read of Revelation, as it had became natural now, I divided it into parts. I made sure to get the whole chronology in place and where I didn’t understand I sought answers from the books I already read. Then, while I was considering the letters to the churches on the second and third chapter, I realised something strange. Jesus uses a character of himself and that character tends to relate or expound on the promise given to the church. It hit me like a lightning bolt and I thanked God greatly because it wasn’t my mind that saw this but rather like it was shown to me.
This is what I realised and it is open to discussion;
EPHESUS, 1ST CHURCH (REVELATION 2: 1,3,7)
1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus writer; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
3And has borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
The seven golden candlesticks and the seven stars were revealed by Jesus himself in Revelation 1:20 as the seven churches and the seven angels respectively. So Jesus here represents his character as being the centre of the history of church upon the world.
To the people of this church he says that they have laboured for ‘my name’s sake’, which is all about declaring boldly that you are a follower of Jesus. This is usually done by creation of a church as it occurred during the days of the apostles.
The promise given is that they will eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. The midst of God’s paradise can only be Jerusalem and it will represent the presence of God on earth.
I put all these together, with thorough consideration, and decided that this message is all about representing Jesus’ character in relation to the Church. That Jesus is the architect, the preserver, the strength and the eternity of the Church. Therefore it relates to all of us.
SMYRNA, 2ND CHURCH (REVELATION 2: 8, 10-11)
8And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Jesus is life. This is one of the most important truths of the bible. Without him there is no life and with him there is all life. And he says the same. He is the first and the last, which means he is eternal and was there in the beginning of our world and will be there in the end of it at the second coming and on. He was dead? Yes, at his crucifixion he died for our sake and slept in the grave through the Sabbath, to honour the day of rest, before he arose to prove his work of salvation. He attained his life again because he is life. John 1:4, says it best, ‘In him was life; and the life was the light of men.’
The Christians of this age suffered greatly as was the case during the ten-year disaster that befell Christianity. Prophetically, a day represents a year and the Diocletianic persecution (from 300AD to 313AD) is represented by the ten days. But Jesus says that we should be faithful even to death and we will receive a crown of life. And what type of life? Eternal.
This is emphasized by the promise given to the church, that they will not be hurt by the second death. Now the second death is what comes after the thousand years. At Jesus second coming, which could be any time now by the way, he will take unto him all those who believed him and kept his teachings. Those who did not and decided to live without God or without his truths will be left on earth to suffer death. A thousand years will be given to the righteous who will go up with Jesus to judge the world. They will basically prove, through a thorough look at history, that everyone was given ample chance to choose God and believe in Jesus. Then, after the thousand years, when the record books are exposed, those who are sinners will all be killed with the second death. A fire from Jesus will consume them utterly and entirely. They will be no more. So you see, the second death is powerful and only those who believe in Christ can have eternity. Only they have a right to live forever. So this message is all about LIFE and what we must do to have it.
PERGAMOS, 3RD CHURCH (REVELATION 2: 12-13, 16-17)
Reveals: GOD’S WORD OR GOD’S DOCTRINE
12And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13I know they works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
16Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
The sharp two-edged sword is the word of God. It is deadly because in it is the secret of life and the mystery of death. We must die to self and to the world so we can live in Christ and in his truth. It is very difficult to actually put into practise but it is the greatest wisdom. It teaches us to fear God and to learn humility. When Jesus speaks, the whole world will shake. The two edges could also mean the Old and the New Testament, as both must be heeded.
Now the Christians of this age, which is the third Christian age, were facing the first intermingling of God’s word with falsehoods and even worship of other gods. In fact, after a while, many Christians may have accepted these falsehoods as truth. So I am assuming that Antipas represents this attack on God’s word and what it means. Because he was slain ‘where Satan dwelleth’ which could only mean that Satan had involved himself in the creation of a church that would appear to be God’s church but is absolutely not.
Jesus then says that he will attack them with the sword of his mouth, which is the word of God. This could probably mean that in the next age of Christianity, God’s word will start to attack these false systems or the right understanding of scripture will be pursued. And since the Reformers came up during the next age, this is highly likely.
The promise is very important because it is very beautiful. If you forsake the world and search the bible for its truths then you will receive hidden manna. While I don’t understand it exactly, manna was given to the Israelites as food while they walked from Egypt. Hidden manna could be more precious, like having the mind of God or true peace and wisdom. Then we will be given a stone and something will be written on it that only we will know. A new name and that is quite beautiful also. We are all unique before God. And this just further emphasises the importance of God’s Word, his doctrine, his truth and how it must be understood.
We cannot put our own truths in the bible or try to bend it to please us. The word is final and there is more joy in it than sadness because of its good. If we embrace it truly and accept its teachings and its commandments as we would accept Jesus, then there is nothing better in the world.
THYATIRA, 4TH CHURCH (REVELATION 2:18,23,26-28)
Reveals: WISDOM OR WORKS
18And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.
23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
26And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over nations.
27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28And I will give him the morning star.
This one was slightly harder to discover mostly because it was filled with things I didn’t know yet. But I found a spark and it lit fire and I understood it as this, Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man. I found it strange when these words were used in different scenarios through most of the Gospels. As the Son of God, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for us as he is a God come down from heaven for our sake. And, as a God, there is something that we must learn from him or achieve through him. As a Son of Man, he gave up his heavenly form and splendour to be born as a human being for our sake. And this was so that he would draw himself closer to us, bringing understanding and a fine example, and get to face the temptations we face. But this verse wants us to see him as the Son of God in this specific case. So there must be something we should receive from him. And he reveals exactly what in the next sentence. Eyes, according to most preachers, means wisdom or the mind. And his eyes are like a flame of fire, which means that his wisdom is more powerful, higher and all encompassing. As for the feet as fine brass, I went with my own interpretation. Daniel, in vision, chapter 10:6, describes Jesus also with arms and feet of fine brass. But while Daniel saw both arms and feet, John saw only feet. So, I assumed that something must have been accomplished between Daniel’s vision and John’s vision. Which can only be the work of salvation of Jesus. But maybe I am reaching too far in that explanation so I will simplify it by saying that the feet represent work or what Christians should do or how they should act.
He later says that he searches the reins of the heart and this is true. God looks at our hearts. Reins could only mean what guides our hearts or what we use to hold ourselves true. Jesus then clarifies that he will give unto each of us according to our works. So what are our works? I believe they have to be the works of the mind and the body, but more on that later.
His promise is that, if we keep his words he will make us rulers over nations. And we will rule with a rod of iron. This could sound rather sinister until you realise that God’s word can be like a rod of iron. It doesn’t bend or change and it requires a tremendous amount of heat to make it pliable. So we will rule based solely on God’s word and only if we have the right works. As for the morning star, I assume in this case that it must be Jesus. But, this is difficult. Isaiah 14:12, says that Lucifer was the ‘son of the morning’ and many theologians believe that Lucifer is the morning star. But later on in Revelation 22:16 Jesus says, ‘I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.’ I therefore conclude that Jesus is the morning star and he gives us this joy of no more temptation or sin upon the world.
There is a lot more here. We must then ask ourselves, what are the works. I believe that the works are of the mind and the body as I said earlier. In the case of the mind, we must bring ourselves to the understanding of God’s word through thorough reading and study. That is the only way we can bring ourselves to have the mind that God requires of us. And it is all about love; humility, self-sacrifice, patience and I think at this point I am just listing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Just one of these things is hard to learn let alone the second work, which is of the body. And how, of the body? Jesus work of salvation is the answer. His willingness to die and his willingness to spread the word of God came to mind. He left us with a charge of spreading the word with boldness. So this will be the second work that will be used to judge. If we declare boldly that we are of Christ and seek to bring others to this understanding then we have the second work. But, we cannot do any of these works alone or at all without Christ. He is the Son of God and we must receive freely his gift and his eagerness to help make us new creations.
SARDIS, 5TH CHURCH (REVELATION 3:1-2, 5)
1And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead.
2Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Jesus points out here that he hath the seven Spirits of God. Now, while I don’t quite understand at this stage, in Revelation 4:5 it is said that ‘…and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.’ Because they are seven and there are seven churches and seven angels, I believe these Spirits represents God’s interaction and wisdom throughout those ages. And this is because, I see that, his Spirit guides and lights a path according to his perfect plan. So, Jesus, having these seven Spirits means that he is in charge of all history and further on. Only by his will do events happen.
The character of the church is revealed as, they have a name and live and are dead. They must further strengthen the things that need to die because their works are still not perfect. The name can only be related to God’s word and in this case Jesus and this is revealed further on through Revelation. And in terms of God’s word, the two edged sword is all about dying to self and living in Christ. If you give up self and the world and all the loves of the world, Jesus will make you a new creature with his loves and his ways and there is much wisdom in that. Only those who are able to do this have a right to eternity.
The church is promised to be clothed in white raiment, which is the only way they can have eternity. The white raiment is mentioned in Revelation 7:9 when John gets to see the multitude of those who are taken to heaven at Christ’s second coming. It says, ‘After this 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:’ Earlier on in Revelation 4:4 we see the twenty four elders also in the same situation. It says, ‘And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.’ Now, while it could be possible that everyone in heaven will wear the same thing, I think there is a deeper meaning. The white raiment must mean righteousness and them being clothed by it means it is the type of righteousness given by Jesus that cannot be removed. How can it not be removed? Well Jesus says it best in John 10: 28-29. It says, ‘And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.’ So, once they receive that righteousness, it is final. Nothing and no one can take it away. They will never be blotted out of the book of life, which can only mean that they will live forever. And their names will be confessed before the angels and God also. This is beautiful because it means you are always welcome in the midst of God, you will be known by all in heaven for all eternity.
So this is all about the eternity that Jesus promises. There will be righteousness, no more sin, or temptation to sin and we will live in the midst of God without any fear of death because of this righteousness. Also, this is only possible because Jesus is the first and the last and he writes all ages. He is in charge of all that happens as easily as he holds the seven stars. We can rest assured that eternity is in great hands.
PHILADELPHIA, 6TH CHURCH (REVELATION 3: 7-8, 11-12)
7And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he the is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
10Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take they crown.
12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
This is also very beautiful and the true image of our loving God. Many words will start to make sense already such as works and names. But there is something else that is special about these couple of verses. Jesus reminds us again that he is holy and he is, he is the Son of God after all and a God himself. He points out that he is true and this is very true. There is no other truth in the world other than Jesus. Search and you will see for yourself, Jesus is truth. In John 14:6 Jesus points out, ‘…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ There is a no more loving, peaceful, humble, kind and self-sacrificing presence upon the world than that of Jesus. If we move on we see that he also has the power to shut something permanently and to open it just as permanently. This is very important because it is the same power that was used during the great Flood. In Genesis 7:16, ‘And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.’ For God to use those words like that means that it was final. Even though billions of living creatures and men also were dying outside, God would not open the doors to save them. And this is because they had rejected God. So, what Jesus will choose to open or shut, we should take seriously. The key of David, I didn’t quite understand, but it could be the key Jesus talks about in Revelation 1:18. He says, ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen: and have the keys of hell and of death.’ And in Revelation 20:14-15, we see that, ‘And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.’ It comes back to the righteousness achieved only through Jesus in whom there is life eternal.
The actual church in this age must have been involved in great work because a door was opened for them that no man could shut. Many believe that it is the age of missionaries upon the earth who earnestly spread the word of God to all continents. Nothing stood in their way, not even their fear of what lay in the mostly uncharted part of the world. This open door will also reflect on us. Jesus will open a door for us. And what is the door? John 10:7, Jesus says, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.’ The door is open now. Jesus is willingly accepting all those who come to him and he is freely giving something great. No one can stop anyone from getting what Jesus offers. Most of the time it only takes some interest, a click at the Internet or even a walk to the right church to get it. The word of God, the bible, is free if you want it and from that word, Jesus will come unto you just as freely.
And when Jesus mentions the attributes of this church it is the same attributes we should have. First, we are weak, which is true. I tried a diet once and when someone brought home a pizza, just the next day of my diet, it was like I had forgotten completely what I was doing. If I am weak in the day-to-day physical things already, how weaker am I in the spiritual things? There was a time I couldn’t go a day without watching more than six hours of television, even if I hated it. And I can’t remain faithful to a good workout routine, or share everything I have or even just think about the right things. I am very weak and we are all just as weak in all our different ways. Jesus knows this and that is why he left the door open and won’t let anyone shut it. Second, we have to keep God’s word. We cannot let ourselves be drawn by the world or keep from reading God’s word. In God’s word are important truths that we need to grow spiritually strong. We also have to keep his commandments. Jesus says in John 14:15, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ There are things that we must remove ourselves from so we can properly follow Christ. When he called Peter and the other disciples, they left the things they had and just started following Jesus. The funniest example was with Levi in Luke 5:27-28. It says, ‘And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.’ He left even the people who must have been waiting to be served. So there are certain times when God wants us to leave completely the things that may hold us back. And we must willingly do so because there is great wisdom in it. The disciples still had problems with faith and trust and even understanding Jesus and his word later on. Likewise you might not be able to stop being unfaithful or have some small problems of behaviour but you cannot continue in the things that take you from God. That means sacrifice. You must sacrifice whatever it is whether its television, clothes, friends, jobs, lifestyles, relationships, marriages and even churches. We must sacrifice. And lastly, we must not deny Jesus’ name. The missionaries went around holding bibles in their hands and saying that they come in the name of Jesus. We must also be so. In this age, of course, people will think you are insane or probably completely lost for doing that. But it’s the opposite. There are very few things that demand a declaration of our relationship with them. Most important are a marriage, our citizenship and God. People must know the same way they will know if you are married or from a certain country because you speak their language. They must know that you are a follower of Jesus, a servant of God and a friend of Jesus.
When we do all these things; enter through Jesus’ door, keep his word and declare him, we attain righteousness. And Jesus so boldly promises that he will makes us pillars of his temple, which is the New Jerusalem. Only the righteous will have that. He also declares the powerful names that we will have. We will have the name of God, which is like the seal of God. We will have the name of the city, which can be considered our new citizenship or our new country. And lastly we will have the new name of Jesus, which is the righteousness that we can no longer ‘go out’ from. We will remain righteous from the moment we truly accept Jesus, to his second coming, and on for eternity.
LAODICEANS, 7TH CHURCH (REVELATION 3: 14,18, 20-21)
Reveals: NEW CREATION OR ONE ACCORD
14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness; the beginning of the creation of God;
18I 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 they nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and he with me.
21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
At the end of humanity, the church gets the message that seems to tie everything together. Jesus says that he is the Amen and I take it to mean that he is the conclusion or the voice that says, ‘Let it be.’ He is the faithful and true witness because he came on earth and suffered the temptations we suffer now and is in heaven helping us in all things. And also he is the beginning of the creation of God. Jesus was there in the beginning of creation. In fact, in John 1:2-3, it is said about Jesus that, ‘The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.’ So, through Jesus, the entire world was created. These three things are very important because they highlight a great importance of Jesus. He is emphasizing that he is the voice that declares and it happens, he is the one who overcame temptation and death and that the very creation of all things were through him. How powerful!
Now, the church in this last age is the most corrupted. There is no other message to any of the other churches that is so strongly against the character of the people. This is evident to see. At least in the ages of the apostles there was one major church, now there are thousands. In the age of the Sardis they turned away from the things of the world and gladly died for God, now, well, now we have intermingled gladly with the world. There are also ages when people spoke vehemently against the falsehoods and practices of evil, now, we just distance ourselves and go on quietly without a word. We don’t even know what those falsehoods are or even what is expected of us. The church is at its worst because there are very few champions of God like David. David said incredible things that highlight how we should view God and the world. In 1st Samuel 17:26, when David hears of Goliath making fun of the Israelites he says ‘…What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God.’ And you should know that David was just a little youth who tended to sheep at that time. Then in 1st Samuel 17:37 it goes on, ‘David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.’ David was going to fight Goliath with the faith that God will deliver him as he delivered him before. And we are going to be delivered of much more. Then David, standing before Goliath, says in 1st Samuel 17:45, ‘…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.’ It is incredible that a little boy had this much faith and strength in God and yet in this age we are asleep. There is no more zeal like the one that saw Isaiah through hardships. There is no more voice as the voice of Jeremiah. There is no more courage as that which saw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego happy in the midst of fire. There is no more trust in the need for God as that which saw Daniel praying three times a day. There is no more humility as Jesus who would never lift a finger to kill or to hurt but instead to heal. We are silent and we are asleep and we may just be found unawares when Jesus comes. But he gives us counsel that we must heed. We must get from him gold tried in fire, white raiment and wash our eyes so we can see. The gold tried in fire is the strength we will get from following Jesus or really, it is taking on Jesus’ goodness for our own. The white raiment is Jesus’ righteousness given to us. And our eyes being our mind, we must wash it out of all the bad so we can think and reason with God. Otherwise, we are truly poor, naked and blind.
Jesus then says further, as a promise to us, that he is simply standing at the door and knocking. He is allowing us with our free will to make a decision for him. His humble kindness will not allow him to force himself on us as the devil would. But he will always be around us, waiting, always knocking through the words of others, our conscience and even shocking events reminding us that there is a God. And if we open the door and let him in, he will come in to us and we with him. This means that he will bring a great change in us. And then we will be welcome to sit on the throne with him.
So Jesus shows us in his character that he does have the power to create things and make things happen and also by his own strength he overcame the world. And that God is willing to change you and make you a new creature with new loves so that the old is done away with. Many people say this but what it really means is powerful. If you loved certain things, God will make them detestable in your eyes. If you hated certain things, God will make them the most beautiful. Jesus will change you from within. Not of your own strength because you weren’t there when the world was created. No one was. Only Jesus and God. So if you can’t know what it took to make the whole universe, do you know what it will take to change you? Well, even with a look at the cross, you still don’t have the strength to change yourself. Only Jesus can change you so accept that free gift and let him into your life by devoting yourself through reading the word of God, prayer, self-sacrifice and understanding the truth about Jesus.
These are the things that I discovered reading through the letters to the churches. At first I had cast them aside saying that they were only about history but no. Every single part of the bible is a greater morsel for our soul than all the best foods the greatest chefs of the world can create. Treat every single part with diligent respect and humility calling upon God to help you understand them because he understands them. The ‘letters’ then are transformed into messages from God to us, now and more personally. They help us understand that in Jesus there is power and strength and the desire to achieve all the things that he promises. He wants us to have life and he wants us in heaven and he wants us to share together on the new earth. The world has tarnished that name of Jesus. Many don’t acknowledge him as God and many don’t acknowledge him as Saviour. Many think the bible is a joke and many find the pleasures of the world too tantalizing to let go of. But everyone will know the truth at the second coming. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD. And Jesus wants us to see the truth and wisdom of his words and choose him before that day. God will never let you be plucked out of his hand once you do. Though the road may be hard and we may have lots to sacrifice and to learn, I tell you, it is the greatest gift of the world. It is the greatest peace and the greatest love. I would, by his strength, willingly give up everything all over again.
And Jesus says, John 4:14, ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’