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Sabbath: The Sealed People of God — 17 Comments

  1. Once again, it is important to read the whole chapter in its entirety to get the big picture. One question I have: Is Revelation 7 part of the seven seal sequence, or a parenthetical explanation. There is, of course, the question of the 144,000 and the great multitude, that we have argued about among ourselves for over 150 years.

    Here is a question to think about. Why was so much space given to saying each tribe contributed 12,000 to the 144,000? Revelation was written when Israel had been reduced to the Jews (and some Levites and Benjamites)

    • Maurice, the way I understand the Revelation, it is a 7-act epic drama with 7 scenes each. Everything is relevant, not parenthetical. In each 6th scene, there appears to be a view of the righteous and a view of the wicked - more detailed in some acts than others. In this scene, we have a view of the wicked calling for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them (Rev 6:15-17) and the righteous are seen as being sealed by God (Revelation 7). The contrast could not be more stark.

      (In the sixth scene of Act 1, there is less detail. We have a view of the wicked in Revelation 3:9, worshiping before the feel of the true Philadelphian church, contrasted particularly with the righteous who will have their Father's name written in their foreheads, Rev 3:12.)

    • As I studied this week, I couldn't help thinking of another passage we as Adventists have mostly ignored--Romans 11. I'm not suggesting the popular notion that has Armageddon being a military conquest between Jews and Arabs in the middle east, or that God can't come until Israel is restored and the temple rebuilt. Those are man-made perversions of the passage and even have adverse political consequences. But we ignore the fact that Paul really is predicting a gathering in of a remnant from ethnic Israel. With that in mind, I can't help offering yet a third perspective on 144,000 and great multitude.

      A recurring theme in the NT is the division of Jews and Gentiles and how the cross was part of God's plan to bring the two together. So should it surprise us that in Rev. 7 there are two groups described, one clearly Jewish and one explicitly named from every nation, tribe and people? Is it possible that the 144,000 are Jews and the multitude is the rest of us? Two possibilities exist, one is that it is those two groups at the end of time, the other, that it is those two groups throughout history.

  2. Today’s lesson states that “At the opening of the sixth seal, God is ready to deal with those who harmed His people”.

    A point to ponder...

    How do you desire that God deal with those people? What do you want God to do to them?

    How does your response compare to that of Jesus regarding those who were harming Him and His people (Lk 23:34)?

    How does self-renouncing love ‘deal’ with such people (Rom 5:6-8; Rom 1:18,24,26,28)?

    • God will deal "justly". He will give every soul the true desire of their heart. What is our desire? Do we tend to loving others, or is our love self-exalting? To love self is to hate God(in reality) and our "wages" will be death, by whatever means God chooses to grant it.

      God can "by no means clear the guilty". (what defines guilt?)

  3. The original Greek word that was used in place of the English word in 2 Peter 3:12 for "Hasting," (which is the present tense for the word "Haste,") was "Speudo" and does not have the idea of HASTE at all. It actually has the connotation to "await eagerly," or to urge on diligently. In other words we are to urge on the good news of Jesus Second Coming to others. But we can not Haste it on or delay it anymore than His First Coming could have been HASTED or DELAYED.

    • H'mm ... You've piqued my curiosity. Strong defines it this way:

      σπεύδω speúdō, spyoo'-do; probably strengthened from G4228; to "speed" ("study"), i.e. urge on (diligently or earnestly); by implication, to await eagerly:—(make, with) haste unto.

      In other words, hasting towards the Second coming does indeed imply speed and *implies" to "await eagerly." The construction of the verse is a typical synonymous parallelism with "looking for" being intensified by the parallel "hasting unto" the coming of the Lord.

      All the uses of the words in the Bible are translated as "haste" or "make haste" and defined that way by Strong. However he defines 1 Peter 3:12 as "await eagerly." Is it possible that his own belief system in an impassive God nudged him to define the word that way for 1 Peter 3:12?

      • I also looked this up G4228 and there it indicates that this word means "pous" or "FOOT." Now how does "foot," have any kind of connotation for "SPEED?" in the word "speudo," which means to "eagerly await?" Maybe because it is a "foot," that makes a person "RUN?" but POUS is an entirely different word altogether. This is sort of funny to me.

    • "But we can not Haste it on or delay it anymore than His First Coming could have been HASTED or DELAYED."

      That depends upon one's view of God and His ways. Has God set a pre-determined timetable that is fixed no matter what - or does God interact with humanity and therefore while the overall general events will occur, the specific timing of those events is contingent upon human activity?

      We know that Bible prophecy was at times conditional upon human activity (eg Jonah's prophecy regarding the destruction of Nineveh that was averted).

      There is suggestion that the NT writers believed that Jesus would return for his second coming during the 1st century. Ellen White makes reference to the idea that if the message of 1888 had been accepted and acted upon, Jesus would have come within her lifetime.

      Is it possible that God has a more intimate involvement with humanity than we have traditionally considered?

      • Here again, Inge Anderson, it is only in 2 Peter 3:12 that there is any kind of idea of Hastening at all Jesus' Second Coming and then Peter refers to "The coming of THE DAY OF GOD," there. Apparently John had not had the vision of the Millenium either. So what exactly can we as SDA's HURRY ALONG? We cannot hurry along the 1000 year millennium either for that matter. And that reminds me also of how Peter is also the one that says that with God one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as one day. Now does that make any sense at all?

        • Pete, I didn't say we could do anything to "hurry along" the second coming of Jesus. 🙂

          Your statement that "'Speudo' and does not have the idea of HASTE at all" intrigued me. I looked it up and posted what I found. Strong's definition of this work in 1 Peter 3:12 appears to be an interpretation, but it's very similar to the idea I get from the KJV translation.

  4. "The opening of the seven seals shows us that every person who claims to believe in Christ will receive blessings for faithfulness or curses for unfaithfulness."
    This is blessed because when we hear one church members interpratation of the seven seals and their application to eschatology, and if you will anothers rundown of how the Lord has lead in the past, confusion sets in. If we get confused with multiple intrepretations, or throw up our hands, and say Revelation is to hard to understand, than pickout the jewels in the lesson that encourage us. Here is another Jewel. "The first four seals describe God’s disciplinary means to rouse His people from  their spiritual lethargy and make them victorious."
    And another Jewel, albeit from last week. "I would like to suggest that the white horse represents the gospel message wherever and whenever it is proclaimed throughout history. It is God's clarion(loud and clear) call to worship Him as Creator and Redeemer and thus to be adopted into the family of God." God bless as we pick out the jewels pertinent to our salvatiion, thus avoiding getting frustrated over Revelation and thus indolent in our study.

  5. As historicists we Adventists are given huge advantage over other hermeneutics to know precisely where we are in the prophetic timeline. We have been reading so far of the 6 seals, and as we peruse history of both the churches addressed in the letters earlier, and the history of God's people as revealed in the seals, we observe many parallels which lead us to accept both letters and seals cover similar time periods.

    We concluded last weeks study with the sixth seal; did you notice that Revel. 6:13 describes what took place in the mid 19th century, ushering in the 3 angels final message of the everlasting gospel to all the world...and Revel. 6:14-17 which describes the second coming? Thus we are living in that gap between verses 13 and 14 of Revelation 6. So you ask, where does chapter 7 fit in? Revelation 7 describes in greater detail that very gap in which we now live. We are living in that sealing time. A time when angels are temporarily holding back God's wrath, until all who are to be sealed, are sealed. (See Jeremiah 51:1; Jeremiah 25:32,33; Ezekiel 9:4-6.
    We are living I the tie of the Laodicean church...those of us who are sealed are those who sigh and cry after the abominations being committed in our midst...those who are sealed are those who repent of being lukewarm...who turn away from hypocrisy...who realise their true poverty, their nakedness, their wretchedness, blindness, and miserable spiritual condition. They are the ones who buy that eye salve to heal their blindness, and have their characters tried in fire that they may come forth as gold. They are the ones who will enter glory clothed in the righteousness of Christ having their garments washed in the blood of the Lamb.

    What an incredibly exciting time in which to live. What a privilege it is to be among God's people today, but a fearful time to not be living in full accord to the light so graciously given us. Revelation 8:1 is the concluding verse to Revel. 6:14-17...silence in heaven as all of heaven empties as the King of Kings comes to take His bride home...chapter 7...that is precisely where we are today. The very next act in the great drama of the great controversy is the mark of the beast then Armageddon.
    "The seal of the living God shall be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character." EGW R&H May 21 1895

    • While I recognize the value of this historicist approach to interpretation it is sometimes useful to examine these prophecies in a non-time specific way. Sometimes I think that the historicist approach is too easy and allows us to accept a historical interpretation when there is quite possibly also, a spiritual application for us in the present.

      Our Sabbath School Teacher took a radical approach to the Seven Seals message and applied it to our treatment of Australian aboriginal people from colonial times to the present day. He maintained that an aboriginal person, reading Rev 6 and 7 would see themselves as the subject in these scriptures. It resonated with those of us familiar with our treatment of Aboriginals. His final question: "Is God's Justice Retributive vs Restorative?" left us with a sober reminder of how our perception of justice can be so wrong. It was a really challenging presentation and a reminder that prophecies have many more levels of understanding than a historical timeline.

      • Interesting, I'm a Kiwi living in Oz, and I can clearly see that perspective, and thinking on it can be no less applied, maybe even more so, to Maori.
        In the beginning of European migration to NZ, the Maori accepted the gospel like ducks to water. Many of the paramount chiefs were converted and actively discouraged their tribes from taking up arms. (White horse). Then unscrupulous land grabbing (even by clergy) became an issue, and the peaceful nature of the gospel came under question. The first Maori missionaries to their own people were martyred by tribes who were under pressure to give up their lands and title. (Red horse) Losing lands through theft, and government confiscations in retribution for the land wars of the 1860s especially in Taranaki and the Waikato, resulted in destitution, and the rejection by many of the gospel narrative. (black horse). Today, while still strong among many Maori, Christianity has taken some turns into more cult-like avenues like Mormonism and Ratana and some of the more extreme in Pentecostalism, thus has come under the greyer shades of the 4th horse. Their progeny today are crying out for justice. Sadly, not from the Christian worldview, but from a desire to independence and sovereignty, however, many within that movement profess Christian sympathies and believe God is on their side and actively working on their behalf. I have personal connectedness to this type of mindset, and it saddens me greatly for it is a powerful delusion.

        Thanks Maurice for opening this aspect of looking at those scriptures.

      • ""Is God's Justice Retributive vs Restorative?" left us with a sober reminder of how our perception of justice can be so wrong."

        This is a question well worth considering indeed. How we each have already answered this question will be reflected in how we treat others who we perceive to have done wrong - whether we are aware of it or not.

  6. As per J. N. Loughborough, who was present during EGW visions (he would scribble down what she would actually verbalize in vision),reveals that the Sabbath truth is the sealing message which started to be preached by J. Bates in 1845, and believers discovered it in 1848. The spread of the Sabbath truth (in addition to the Loud Cry-Christ's Righteousness) will grow in strength like the rising sun.Therefore all who accept the Sabbath message and possess that transforming love of the Lord who gave this seal to us will be "sealed".


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