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Sabbath: Among the Lampstands — 16 Comments

  1. Just an observation. It intrigues me that John, who knew Jesus quite well during his earthly ministry, described Jesus in a very symbolic way in this vision. I would have expected a more personal touch. I hope that some of you have taken my challenge to read the whole of chapter 1 right though to get the big picture before our study this coming week.

  2. To a dying world, the message depicted in the sanctuary is hope.
    The message of hope also brings the message of judgement
    22If I had not come and spoken to them,they would not be guilty of sin. Now,however, they have no excuse for their sin. John 15:22
    This book unlike any other book reveals God's love and judgment.

    • This comment is open to all to respond.

      If Revelation, “unlike any other book reveals God’s love and judgment”, then would it be worth our time and effort to search out what God’s love and judgment look like and how they operate?

      Isa 55:9 tells us that God’s ways are not like our ways. And Jesus life and teachings (eg Matt 5) certainly affirm, reinforce and demonstrated that principle.

      There has been some discussion to date regarding how God’s love is ‘higher’ than the typical human conception of love. While God’s love is a self-renouncing principle that motivates every aspect of being, typically-portrayed human ‘love’ tends to be a self-based subjective feeling we get when we are in the company of something or someone that “pleases me” (Judges 14:3).

      What about God’s judgement? In what way/s is God’s judgement higher than human judgement? This is not a discussion that I believe has yet received sufficient attention within Christianity.

      For hundreds of years it (at least), it has been most typically assumed that God’s judgement operates on the same ‘platform’ as our human legal system. Is it that God’s ‘higher’ way is merely that He runs a more honest legal system? Or, like God’s love is conceptually different, could God’s judgement also be conceptually different?

      Could it be that God’s ‘higher’ ways of judgement operate in something that is ‘higher’ than a legal system? Man’s ‘laws’ are all arbitrarily derived and therefore require a derived ‘legal system’ to implement and manage them. But God’s laws are the principles and protocols of reality and need no implementation and management ‘system’ because they already have inherent consequences that cannot be avoided. For example, you violate the laws of health, your health suffers: cause and effect.

      I raise this discussion at this point because how we understand God’s judgment has a significant and direct bearing on how we understand God and His Ways - including the Three Angel’s Messages. And how we understand these concepts has significant and direct bearing on what and how we share with others. What if God’s judgement actually operates on a much ‘higher’ platform than our legal system - so much higher that it does not involve a legal system? Would that potentially be ‘Good News’ to share?

      Therefore, I believe this issue is worth exploring and examining in the course of studying the book of Revelation.

      • Great issue to explore Phil. Satan lied about God’s law: "In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice." {DA 761.4}

        Satan alleged from the beginning that God’s laws are not the design protocols the Creator built life to operate upon, but, instead, function no differently than the rules enacted by human beings — derived laws that require the ruling authority to inflict punishment for disobedience.

        So, Satan has worked to replace God’s "higher" law of love with a derived legal system getting humans to misinterpret God as a being of stern justice, who must inflict punishment for breaking the law.

        The completion of the Reformation requires the rejection of this derived legal system lie, in order to take the eternal gospel to the world, to prepare the world for Christ’s return. We must return to worship our Creator and Designer and realize His laws are the principles and protocols upon which life is built. We must realize that sin changes the sinner, causing a state of being which is incompatible with life in God’s universe, because the sinner is no longer operating upon the law (protocols) that God constructed life to exist. Thus God, through Christ, has been working to heal and restore sinners back into perfection in that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor 5:21). This is the message of the three angels of Revelation 14. This is the true mission of the church—one that we will only fulfill when we eliminate man' s derived legal system, with its distortions, from Christian teachings.

        • Hi James

          Continuing on from what you have outlined, can you comment on what ‘judgment’ would look like under God’s “higher” law of love? How would it differ from the prevailing view of judgment that reflects man’s derived legal system?


          • Hi Phil

            There are several "judgment" verses (ie, Ezekiel 20:36, Romans 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10, 1Peter 1:17, Revelation 20:12) that are traditionally interpreted under man's derived legal system to mean that God’s judgment determines our destiny, either saved or lost, in the form of an arbitrary decision on His part. It appears to me, however, that under God's "higher" law of love, God's judgment is merely the accurate diagnosis of our condition, either healed and restored to Christlikeness or incurable. Is it God’s judgment that causes our condition to be what it is or does He merely confirm what our condition actually is?

            An example of God’s judgment is found in Hosea 4:17. Ephraim cannot be separated from his idols, so leave him the way he is. What determines our eternal destiny is not God’s judgment upon us, but as you stated above that His laws "already have inherent consequences that cannot be avoided.

          • "...God's judgment is merely the accurate diagnosis of our condition..."

            Interesting.... That would mean that the messages to the 7 churches are in fact an example of God's diagnostic 'judgment'. Perhaps the book of Revelation could validly also be called the book of Judgment in that it diagnostically reveals to inform the remedy that may be needed and/or the preventative measures that would be beneficial to adhere to.

  3. Revelation is the sequel to the Gospels with Jesus revealing Himself as fully divine, ruler and High Priest of which John had seen only briefly at Mt of transfiguration

  4. John the Revelator blind" is a traditional gospel blues call and response song.[2] Music critic Thomas Ward describes it as "one of the most powerful songs in all of pre-war acoustic music ... [which] has been hugely influential to blues performers".[3] American gospel-blues musician Blind Willie Johnson recorded "John the Revelator" in 1930 and subsequently a variety of artists have recorded their renditions of the song, often with variations in the verses and music. As John the Revelator was in a cave in Patimos, he wrote what he was shown in a Vision of Rev.1:2 and 9 He wasn't physically blind.

  5. "Centuries later, an aged apostle found himself on a rocky prison island because of his faithful witness. In his distress, he got the news that the churches under his care were suffering."

    How John got to the Isle of Patmos is not recorded in scripture, but early Christian history writers fill in some details. According to Tertullian, it was during the reign of Emperor Domitian. Domitian saw the Christians as a threat. He had John seized and brought to him, and proposed to make a spectacle of him in front of a large crowd. Torturing and killing Christians was often used as "entertainment" for the crowds. Christians were painted as cannibals (a twisted report of their communion service) and as disrespectful of the various Roman gods, and other slanderous crimes.
    In this instance Domitian had a large vat of oil heated (oil can get much hotter than boiling water) and had John thrown in. But instead of writhing in agony and dying, John (like the three worthies in Daniel 3) was totally unharmed. In fact, the sources report that he was preaching to the crowd during the ordeal. John was then taken out of the vat of oil, but Domitian was still set on getting rid of him, so John was sent to the Isle of Patmos.

    A chapel named 'San Giovanni in Oleo' still stands in Rome to commemorate the event.

    When we understand a little about the conditions John, as well as the churches were facing at this time, we can reflect on how they would have reacted to John's messages?

    Those first paragraphs in Revelation chapter one, emphasizing the eternal and powerful existence of Jesus Christ, as the Victor over sin and death, and the promise of His return, would have meant much to them. They lived in a time when a person's love and devotion to Christ could mean the lose of this earthly life.

    So we see in each of the letters to the churches --
    the reassurance -- overcome the world, for there is a better world coming.
    --to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
    -- shall not be hurt of the second death.

  6. In the letters to the 7 churches, we see revealed the intimate knowledge Jesus has of His people, expressing His greatest concerns, blessings, and appeals. Ever the Good Shepherd, Jesus is always seeking the lost and calling for faith in Him and His provisions for eternal life. As always He is gentle but clear, sympathetic but direct in His labors for the souls surrendered to His keeping, and their eternal welfare. Well says the prophet: "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth"(Isa 42:3).

  7. The spiritually heavy message here is that Jesus is still in the sanctuary. Let us benefit from the abundant love and forgiveness but avoid the final judgment


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