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Friday: Further Thought – The Two Witnesses — 6 Comments

  1. It is difficult to get a figure on the loss of life during the French Revolution but some estimates put the loss in Paris to be about 20,000 people. At the same time a counter-revolutionary war was being raged in provincial France that claimed the lives of about 170,000 civilians. It is worth noting that while we know quite a lot about Paris, little has been said about what happened in the rest of the country.

    It gives us pause for thought when we look at current conflicts and their cost to human life. The Russian-Ukranian conflict has cost an estimated 500,000 lives and the Israel-Hamas conflict, 36,000 lives. (Note: These are rough estimates only to give an idea of extent.)

    There is for us one clear message. The battle between good and evil continues. Innocent people are losing their lives as a consequence.

    Jesus put the message this way:

    “Don’t let anyone fool you. For many will come claiming to be the Messiah and will lead many astray. When you hear of wars beginning, this does not signal my return; these must come, but the end is not yet. The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.

    “Then you will be tortured and killed and hated all over the world because you are mine, and many of you shall fall back into sin and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and lead many astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere and will cool the love of many. But those enduring to the end shall be saved.

    “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come. Matt 24: 4-14 TLB

  2. It is both horrific and inspiring to read the accounts of those standing for their faith against severest persecution.

    We look to the Waldenses, and it piques our interest that some may have brought, or independently discovered, Saturday as their day of rest.

    Foxes Book of Martyrs, first edition 1563 (with major additions in 1583 including the French massacre), predates only shortly an extremely important event for Seventh-day Adventists. John Trask and his wife were imprisoned in 1618, when the earliest recorded Seventh-day Baptists became too disruptive for England.

    In any discussion of Sabbath keeping, we recognise there are others less well known outside of their homeland. An example is the Subotniks sentenced to death in 1490 by the Moscow court for blasphemy. While individuals were sentenced for various crimes, every one of them was declared guilty of; "You have all honored the Sabbath more than the Voskresenije (resurrection day) of Christ".

    Besides persecution commonly quoted in our English/USA centric church, many others are known, some directed at Jews, Hindus, Muslims, other Christian sects, and less prominent groups. All represent people who lived and died for their faith. Corporately we may say these groups are unbelievers, but as individuals before God, many honest and upright individuals of all persuasions are accepted by God because they lived lives in the light they were given.

    Jesus is our living example. Even though He condemned the corporation of Scribes and Pharisees, we know individuals who respected His teachings and followed Him.

    Are we ready and reflecting Jesus in all our interactions with others, regardless of their status?

  3. There is not a third side. I'm either on one or the other, for good or evil. For the Truth or deception. May I continue to strive for what is good and truthful! May I continue to listen to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit through the study of The Two Witnesses!

  4. The last quote of ‘The Great Controversy’ states that it is not enough to merely know about the living, restorative power of the Word of God. The believer needs to LOVE God’s Word – His Truth - to manifest its power! Only then will the Spirit vanquish the voices of doubt, preventing doubt and freeing us to love Him and our fellow man freely.

    Though the power of the Holy Spirit can shine God’s Light into the darkest recesses of the heart and mind, it is utter foolishness to take His Grace for granted. The adversary’s deceptions and cunning lies can make their home in one's heart and mind without us being aware – Matt.24:24.

    One does not even need to argue that 'there is no God’! It is enough to make lite of faith and walk in one’s own council to open the door for deceit to enter the heart. Only the power of God's Word, through faith and trust, will keep us save from calamities as we willingly and heartily live in Christ Jesus’ revealed Truth by faith.

    He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, He accomplished all that which the Scriptures pointed to. Those who decide to live in the Kingdom of our heavenly Father love Him and His Word with all their heart. He will always keep their faith strong because they love His living Word - Christ Jesus - revealed by the Holy Spirit – Gal.6:2; Matt.5:17-20; Mark 12:28-31; Rom.10:4; Gal.3:23-25; Eph.2:15.

  5. I guess I feel I have to say a few words in defense of the French Revolution. I am a social studies teacher, so have taught about it in high school classes (mainly in the context of nationalism). There was plenty of evil, especially during the reign of terror, but some good things came out of it. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens established the protection of rights and many of these rights have been established in other documents since. The idea that Kings held sovereign rule was disrupted. People in lower classes and women gained a certain amount of freedom. I am thankful for these changes, imperfect as they are.

    I cannot condone the atheistic sentiments of people like Voltaire, but the reality was that they were likely reacting against a corrupt religious system as much as God Himself. Their thinking was distorted, but who was really to blame for that? Of course, pushing God out leaves a vacuum for evil as history shows. But the same is true today. How many atheists have not really rejected God but a false picture of Him? So I try to be careful about how I label people.


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