- Restraining the winds. The introduction to our lesson this week contains 20 different references, mostly found in the Bible, to what is meant by the winds that the angels will restrain, and how you and I need to pay attention to the warnings God has sent us. “At the end,” the warning roars, “all the elements of strife will be let loose.” Whatever your age or where you may be living, does it give you reassurance or a sense of fear to learn that a seal is being placed on your forehead at this time? What does the seal test in our life with Christ? What does the Sabbath (fourth) commandment reveal about the bearer’s obedience to God? Yet another purpose exists for this symbol of allegiance to God. What is it? What is the warning God sends us about how we must deal with the Holy Spirit at this time?
- The sealed people of God. Will you shudder? feel fear? rejoice? when you find out that you are–or are not–one of God’s sealed people? Why do you think that there are so many numbers in the prophetic books of the Bible? Can you explain the numbers that go into making up each group of the 144,000? Why does God seem to derive the 12 tribes from a chaotic assembly of past governments that have virtually disappeared from the face of the earth? Is this a “last hurrah” for the 12 tribes of Israel? The tribes of Dan and Ephraim are not included. Why? Judah is listed as the first tribe on the list in Revelation although Reuben was the oldest son. Is there a reason for this? Ah, your lesson author has an answer, saying that the 12 tribes of Israel are given in Revelation 7, Numbers 1, and Ezekiel 48. It’s up to us to figure out why some tribes are not on the list. In reality, that is, in reality extended to meet the end of time, can you and I have any assurance that we will make it through the time of trouble? What does it take to hold onto that assurance?
- The great multitude. If you and I don’t like the idea of being denied eternal life, is there any hope for us? Can you imagine emerging from a huge crowd of people who are wearing filthy clothing while you are dressed in beautiful white attire that is pure and clean? Is that really how it will be? If not, how do you imagine the way things might look at that time? Read and study the descriptions of people surrounding the holy throne of God in the lesson for Tuesday. Which category would you like to behold as your own? Or will it matter once you realize that you are a member of God’s kingdom? Is it true that you just have to know once and believe once to “make it” to the everlasting kingdom? Or will you and I have work to do until we are on our way to heaven and then will lean back and take it easy through eternity. Is that your vision of salvation? Are you praying about this every day?
- Those who follow the Lamb. Is the number, 144,000 in our lesson this week, a literal or a symbolic number? How do you know? What does it represent? Suppose you’re in line with other saints and you hear a voice calling out to the person just in front of you: “One hundred forty-three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine…” What is wrong with that illustration? Isn’t the 144,000 a literal number that will be fulfilled as Jesus is coming? If not, what does it mean? What single word do you think best represents the bond these 144,000 people have to God? Are they part of the final harvest? Why do you believe this, if you do? What is convincing about the way the 144,000 will be rewarded for the trip to heaven? What is “spiritual fornication”? Can we commit this sin without knowing we have? Explain.
- Salvation to our God and the Lamb. There we are, if we are with Jesus for eternity. “In their mouth was found no guile.” What is guile? What happened to it? Would you like to be in the group of the saved who are “without fault”?Has God given you enough guidance, enough truth, enough wisdom, enough strength, enough of everything it takes to go to the everlasting homeland to enjoy a full life of enjoyment and pain-free celebration? How are you sharing this wonderful gift with others? Is it too late? Or is there still time to ask God for the ability to reflect His beautiful character? to be cleansed from everything else? In Revelations 14:5 we see the 144,00–symbolic of the saved at the end of the war against sin–so that we can lay aside all thoughts of sin and depravation and realize that we are on the way to eternal life with Jesus. Are you eager for that to happen?