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Sunday: Restraining the Winds — 19 Comments

  1. The sealed saints knows their God! Just as it has depicted in 2Peter 3:9-14
    God know us! An assurance that every Christian should always rejoice in it....The faithfulness of God’s sealed people has been tested in every generation. However, the test of faithfulness in the final crisis will be the keeping of God’s commandments ( Rev. 12:17, Rev. 14:12). In particular, the fourth commandment will become the test of obedience to God (Rev. 14:7).

  2. I would propose that Rev 7:1-3 illustrates one of the most overlooked and under-considered concepts of reality - with substantial implications.

    What is it that enables (abundant) life to function as it should? Order or chaos?

    And what is it that creates order in the natural world?

    Natural laws (as opposed to man-made rules) are the principles of consistency that underpin and therefore enable the order which is necessary for true (abundant) life.

    As in the natural, so too in the realm of all living creatures, life is contingent upon order which is contingent upon the underpinning laws that give rise to that order. And it is critical to remember that self-renouncing love is the most foundational of all laws and that all laws reflect self-renouncing giving. It is this self-renouncing giving that contributes to the perpetual nature of abundant, eternal life (eg: the water cycle, the respiration cycle).

    So, life requires two key, inseparably interconnected things. Firstly, It requires a Source (Jn 1:3,4) and maintenance of connection with that source (Jn 15:5; Acts 17:28). And secondly it involves willingly living in harmony with the laws of life that foster order as opposed to chaos. This is what Adam and Eve did up until Gen 3.

    In Gen 3 something changed. Adam and Eve were seduced by Satan into exchanging willing adherence to living in harmony with the necessary self-renouncing nature of life. Instead they, like Satan, embraced the principle of self-exaltation (Gen 3:5). This exchange resulted in an immediate disconnection from the two above mentioned necessities for life. They (inadvertently) disconnected themselves from the Source of life and they no longer lived in harmony with the (natural) laws that promoted and maintained order. What did this mean? Exactly what God had warned them would be the natural cascade of results (Gen 2:16,17).

    Interesting that God had said that “on the day you eat... you will surely die”. Yet Adam and Eve didn’t. And people have explained this apparent discrepancy by suggesting that God had only meant they would die ‘spiritually’. But, on the basis of what I have outlined above, Adam and Eve would have died that very day (and I believe instantaneously too) except that God, consistent with His nature and character, intervened instantaneously in order to enable an opportunity for redemption and salvation (2 Pet 3:9).

    But this is the overlooked point: death and chaos had become the new default state in both all living creatures and nature itself. Prior to that ‘fateful’ day in Gen 3, humanity’s default trajectory was abundant life. But as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s departure from - or transgression of (1 Jn 3:4) - the two necessary conditions for abundant life, humanity’s new trajectory was “perish” (as per Jn 3:16, etc).

    Another description for death and chaos is destruction. But the nature of that destruction is from forces from within - that is, self-destruction as a consequence of disconnection from that which would do the opposite. It is interesting that the Greek word for perish in Jn 3:16 and 2 Pet 3:9 means to die utterly away from - or to completely self-destruct as a direct consequence of disconnection from life. So, since Gen 3 and as a direct natural consequence of Adam and Eve’s choice in Gen 3, self-destruction of nature and life for all living creatures is actually the default state here on planet earth (eg Rom 5:14) and, by extension, throughout our universe. This is consistent with the EGW quote in the first paragraph of today’s lesson which stated “As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passions, all the elements of strife will be let loose”.

    These winds of strife are natural consequences of reality - via the processes I have outlined above. Destruction (death and total chaos) are already embedded within the reality of this universe. It is not God who destroys - He doesn’t need to. Reality under sin is already doing that. Rather, God is instead restraining that destruction via holding back the 4 winds of strife. This is consistent with Jn 3:16: it is not God who is going to destroy us, it is the reality of sin. God is the one who is trying to save us. Jesus was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth in Jn 10:10 - destruction is exclusively the activity of the thief and abundant life is the only thing that God is about.

    I would propose that it is our lack of awareness of the above-mentioned aspect of reality that has made us vulnerable to Satan’s misportrayal of God as the source of death and/or destruction - especially at the end of the world. I would submit that Revelation 7:1 is but one further verse that challenges this misportrayal.

    [PS: Sometimes people say that nature doesn’t have sufficient destructive force for annihilation of this planet and beyond. Consider nuclear fission which results in a 200 million times energy increase from each splitting of a single uranium nucleus by a neutron and which grows exponentially by a factor of 3 for every round of splitting. Chaos is well and truly capable of total self-destruction.]

    • Phil, you inadvertently raised another issue with your PS. Nuclear fusion releases even more energy than fission by a very wide margin, but in the process of releasing this energy creates new elements. The other observation I would make is that every star in the universe is essentially a fusion process. In that sense, such chaos is creating order. We could spend a long time discussing that but it would digress from the lesson.

    • Phil, God is Spirit and He gave to humans a spirit which is the human’s life - to God. The flesh or body effects the spirit’s contrivances (Jn 6:63; Rom 8:16). Eve sinned in the spirit/mind when “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make wise...”( Gen 3:6). This was before she took the fruit and ate it. Her flesh simply effected her thinking. “As a man thinks in his heart/mind/spirit so he is...”(Prov 23:7; Matt 5:28; Mk 7:20-23, James 1:14,15; 1 Cor 15:56). Eve was *dead*, to God, before she ate the fruit. We are characterized as “dead in trespasses and sins”. Christ must give life to our dead spirits, as with Lazarus, before we “hear” or “see”. Eve’s flesh/body began to die. The body made from dirt was “fearfully and wonderfully made”. There was nothing wrong with the fruit or the tree. Everything was made very good, but God had declared the fruit forbidden. Satan declared the opposite. Eve “believed” Satan. It was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” placed as a test. Adam and Eve were innocents who had no knowledge of the distinction between good and evil. Did they think of all their surroundings as “good”? There was no evil to compare. In the test-tree either choice would bring them the “knowledge of good and evil”. Their specific choice declared evil good, and good evil. Had they obeyed God they would have discovered that the tempter was the evil one, that they had conquered evil, that good was very good and evil very evil. Nature, itself, didn’t sin (had no spirit) but God subjected it to corruption because of Adam’s sin (Rom 8:20-22; Gen 3:17,18). Adam and Eve did die that day, to God. Didn’t they?

      • Thanks for your thoughts Kenny.

        I agree that the 'sin' was not in the eating of the tree, but in what was going on prior to that in Eve's mind/heart. Hence, while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

        With respect to "nature, itself, didn’t sin (had no spirit) but God subjected it to corruption because of Adam’s sin (Rom 8:20-22; Gen 3:17,18)", this would depend whether one sees/believes that God imposes impacts or whether those impacts are due to cause and effect reality.

  3. What does "keep"the commandments mean? How do we keep our treasure? Lock it away? How do we keep the rules of the speed limit? Don't drive to fast. How do we keep our marriage vows to love each other until death do us part? What is adultery per Jesus? It is already the thought in mind and heart.
    Mat 5:27-28. James 1:14-15
    When we enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ we love Him and commit to live by His Principles of Life which are engraved in our hearts and we are sealed.

  4. The Sabbath

    Which day of the week is the Sabbath? Is it Friday, Saturday or Sunday?

    - The Bible does not use Monday, Tuesday etc to name the days of the week, it numbers them, the first, second etc.

    Which is the seventh day of the week?

    - Jesus died on Friday the preparation day, he rested in the tomb on Saturday and resurrected on Sunday.(the first day of the week) Mat 27:62,28:1.

    But the Sabbath is for the Jews?

    - ex 20:10 it is the Lord's.
    - Mark 2:27 it is for all people.

    But the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come?

    - The Sabbath is not a shadow of anything because it was started in Eden before sin.

    But the Sabbath ended in Calvary when Christ died?
    -The Sabbaths which were started after the fall which were a shadow of good things to come ended at Calvary but not the Sabbath of the ten commandments. Lev 23:24,27,34.

    But we can make any day of the week to be the Sabbath?
    - gen 2:1-3 God blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.
    -ex 16:27,28 here people did that but God said they are breaking the law.
    - if you choose any day of the week to be the Sabbath then that day will be yours not the Lord's.

    But we should celebrate the resurrection of Christ as the apostles did?

    - was there really any celebration when Christ resurrected?
    - John 20:19. Here the apostles were hiding fearing the jews.
    -Mark 16:10-14 here they didn't believe he had resurrected?
    - how could they celebrate something they didn't believe in?
    - Jesus did so many things on the other days of the week but that did not change those days to be the Sabbath.

  5. Never forget keeping the commandments is not the goal! Jesus said he was disgusted with the leaders who "kept the commandments" but lacked love, mercy, and justice! Commandment keeping without those doesn't "cut it". Too many people emphasize keeping the commandments and forget the weighter matters of the law! May God's love reign supreme in our hearts!!

    • Yes, keeping the commandments, and in particular observing Sabbath, is the fruit of having a consistent intimate relationship with Jesus. Commandments keeping is NOT the goal, but the result of abiding in the Vine. Our goal should be to remain cleaved to our Saviour, "for without Me ye can do nothing".

    • The issue that people have with the concept of commandment keeping stems from a misperception of what the commandments actually represent.

      Because we live in world that makes rules and calls them laws (eg by-laws), we mistakenly think that the commandments are rules that must be followed or else.

      But in reality, the 'commandments' are actually 'commendments' in that they describe principles/constants that are necessary for life to function as it is designed/intended by God and therefore inform us how abundant life actually works. That is all a law (as opposed to a rule) is - a principle that is constant meaning it always works that way.

      If you wish to live, you will need to live in accordance with the laws of respiration, the laws of digestion, the laws of health hygiene, etc. Whenever you live in harmony with these laws, you experience health and wellness. When you live out of harmony with those laws, you experience sickness, disease and possible premature death.

      Living in harmony with these laws is not a goal, it is simply reality necessity in order to enable you to live so you can do the things that are important to you.

  6. Now at the sixth seal, God himself makes the distinction between the wheat and tares.
    Those who are sealed by God will not be allowed to be harmed during the seven last plagues which will be poured out upon this earth.
    The distinction of the wheat and tares will be made on this earth for the glory of the Lord prior to his return to this earth between the people of God and those who have rejected the truth.
    Ezekiel 8:16-18 gives the description of those who have rejected the truth. Those who have deliberately turned their back on God.
    The gospel will be (must be) preached to the ends of the earth. Because, in the time of the end, there will be two distinct group of people: those who have withstood the test of faithfulness and those who are willful, deliberate, and persistent in rejecting the truth.
    This is the reason Jesus cannot and will not come until the gospel has been clearly presented to the entire earth. (Matthew 24:14)
    How long will we wander in this wilderness testing the Lord our God without being faithful unto him.

    God is recruiting people to glorify his name on this earth.
    When each one reach one this work of God will be finished on this earth.

  7. Thank God He is still holding back the four winds of strife per His Angels. We have a work to do yet. Not only is He waiting for us to be sealed. He is waiting for us to spread the gospel. So many in the USA have not adequately heard of Christ. We can hasten His coming. We don't change the future by hastenimg His coming, we make history, by hastening His coming.

  8. people of God I need someone to help me with this question: "How long are the angels supposed to restrain the winds?

    • “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”
      Revelation 7:3 NLT

      However long that takes. There are no time restricted prophecies beyond 1844 according to my understanding of Revelation 10:6. It is during this time after 1844 that "God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets.”
      Revelation 10:7 NLT

  9. In Reply to Sharon Foster:
    I believe that keeping the Commandments is the goal as per Revelation 14:12. To me it shows Love of God,and mercies.

    • Yes. I agree with you. I think Sharon was trying to say the same thing. True commandment keeping has to include having the character of Jesus, which will include being loving and merciful and fair.


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