Sunday: Two Contrasting Systems
Read Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 17:14. How is God’s church described, and what is Satan’s reaction to it?
Down through the centuries, God has always had a people who have been faithful to Him. Revelation 12:17 describes their faithfulness as those who “keep the commandments of God,” and also who are elsewhere depicted as “called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14, NKJV).
Read Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 17:1-2. What solemn announcement does the angel make, and what did Babylon do to warrant such an announcement?
John wrote the book of Revelation at the end of the first century. By this time, the ancient city of Babylon was a dust heap. When John wrote down the messages in the book of Revelation, the literal city of Babylon had been destroyed for more than several centuries.
In Revelation the ancient city of Babylon is taken to be a type, or symbol, of the end-time Babylon. In the prophecies of Revelation, Babylon represents a false religious system that will have similar characteristics to Old Testament Babylon. The principles that guided ancient Babylon will be the undergirding structure of modern, spiritual Babylon.
In Revelation 17:1-6, a woman dressed in purple and scarlet strides across the landscape of time. This woman rides upon a scarlet-colored beast. The Bible calls her a harlot. She has left her true lover, Jesus Christ. Here the apostle John gives us a graphic portrayal of an apostate system of religion that has powerful influence in the world. Look at the wording: this power was one with “whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2, NKJV). Drunk? Always a negative in the Bible. And fornication? Symbolic of the false teachings, false doctrine, and practice.
|Both leaders and the common people alike have been negatively influenced by this power. What’s our only protection? (Read Ephesians 6:10-18.) Less|
I grew up with the notion that the Papacy/Roman Catholic Church was the bad guy. We were provided with books on the Waldensees and Huguenots, the martyrs, and the reformers. I was told about the Catholics attacking at midnight and so on. In my childhood there was a period of time where I tried to ensure that when I was sleep I was as flat as possible so that anyone looking in would think the bed was unoccupied.
And I grew up and realized that the issue of the two contrasting systems was much more complicated and that at least some of what I had been told was an over-simplification, and the demarcation between the good guys and the bad guys was not as clear as some people tried to make it.
For instance, I learned that some of the protestant reformers were just as adept at persecution as the Catholics. I also learned that to a large extent, the fact that we have the Bible today was due largely to early biblical documents being stored in Catholic monasteries.
I mention this because, even today I get the impression that some Seventh-day Adventists react every time the Pope sneezes. I have survived the death of six popes and at the changeover of every pope, I have heard sermons, cassette tapes, DVDs, Youtube videos, and blogs about the implications for Seventh-day Adventists. Most of them are scary and some of it is just plain wrong.
I am not defending the Papacy. Their theology is flawed and during the time when they mixed religion and politics, they were a persecuting power.
However, we need to be mindful of the fact that today, it is not the Papacy and its false religion that is attracting believers away from Jesus. In our modern world, religion has become a cute reminder of where we have been. Churches have become tourist destinations. Secularism simply ignores faith and its meaning. The new persecution is not being tortured and burned at the stake. It is simply being ignored as irrelevant. The false system that is snatching our young people is not an alternative religion; it is no religion at all.
I remind myself that one of the most successful war strategies of all time, it to make the enemy think you are attacking in one place when through guile and deceit you are attacking without a lot of fanfare at the opponent's weakest point. Satan knows this strategy better than anyone else - he invented it!
Personally, I see Revelation 17:14 regarding those called "Chosen and Faithful," there as applying to the unfallen angels that attend Jesus to do battle against the wicked in the end and not any humans at all. What does apply to us humans in Revelation is 12:11. It is Jesus' blood spilled at Calvary 2,000 plus or minus years ago and our faith on that fact that gives us the victory and counts us "Faithful" too even though in actuality we are still flawed and sinful in our natures and characters too in comparison to Jesus. Even Ellen G. White said that we could never equal that pattern.
I do not know why my post ended up with Isaiah 12:11 when I wanted Revelation 12:11? So sorry for this unintentional error here.
We may want to consider that the secularism we are experiencing may be at least partially the drunkenness that these verses are talking about, the result of a make believe relationship with God that is based on false doctrine and/or self deception. The corruptions we hear about (i.e. sexual abuse) coming out from both Catholic and Protestant churches (and even our own church) help people want to have nothing to do with religion.
Thanks Maurice! This is a stark reminder of how the distractor works. We are so focused on one thing and he is winning by using other distractors of which we are oblivious.
As I read this lesson’s references, especially Rev.17:12-17, I noticed that the ten kings – ‘which have not received a kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast’ – v.12, because ”God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His Will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the Words of God shall be fulfilled.” - v.17.
Rev.17:2 points out that ‘all the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her[the whore dressed in purple and scarlet] fornication.’ But then appears to come a time when world powers unite in direct support of the beast, and that this does not end well for the 'whore'. Rev.17:16 explains that the ten kings end up hating the 'whore’ and ‘shall make her desolate’; - what happened?
It appears to me that this group of ten ‘kings’ describes a newly formed system of powers - ‘having one mind’ -, 'which shall give their power and strength unto the beast/religious system for the purpose to make war with the Lamb ...: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.‘ Rev.17:13-14.
I wonder if anyone else noticed this passage referring to ‘the then kings hating the 'whore and making her desolate'; - what does this mean? Do the ten kings actually regret having given over their power to the beast for an ‘hour’, or are they just angry for having lost their opportunity to enrich themselves; having been deceived one more time - Rev.17:16;18:9-11;16-19?
The angel reveals that 'lending their power to the beast' was for the purpose to fulfill God's Will until the Words of God shall be fulfilled?” - Rev.17:17. Yes, indeed, these are two contrasting systems - one leading unto death, the other unto life, but both powers are subject to the control of our God.
Unfortunately we've been so focused on the evils of a particular church that we've not been aware of how the identifying characteristics of that organization may have crept into our own church and perhaps even into our own lives.
No, I don't think Sunday keeping is the main identifying characteristic of that system. Multitudes of people have kept Sunday as Sabbath through the years, and many of them will be in heaven.
I don't think it's even the union of church and state that is the most evil characteristic.
I believe it is the denial of freedom of conscience that is the church's biggest anti-Christ characteristic. Christ came specifically to preserve our freedom of choice. We have no choice under Satan's rule, as slaves to sin. Christ came to offer us a choice to accept His redemption from this rebellious world and pain-filled world. He does not drag us forcibly into His Kingdom, but He courts us with His love.
God exercises self-renouncing love to save us and redeem us from slavery.
The anti-Christ forces individual consciences into compliance. This may be the Roman church, or it might be a Protestant church that did/does the same thing. It could even be our own church. And that same spirit can take residence in our own hearts - the desire to control people to conform to our ideas of what is right.
What solemn announcement does the angel make, and what did Babylon do to warrant such an announcement?
What is the answer in the context of the chapter?
The first angel's message is the call to:
1. Proclaim the everlasting gospel.
2. Stand in reverential awe before God giving Him glory
3. Recognize that He is our judge and judgment is taking place.
4. Worship our Creator Who made us and everything else.
The second angel's message basically proclaims that a great confusion of ideas and practices have obscured the initial crucial message and the main bodies that should have embraced that message have in fact rejected it.
As to freedom of choice.
That, like everything else the devil has confused, and has turned upside down and backwards.
God gave freedom of choice to
1.either worship, trust and obey Him, as our Creator and Redeemer.
2. or not to worship, trust and obey Him, establishing our own ideas of how to worship and live.
Satan turns everything around and says God demands a very restrictive regime and threatens extermination if one departs from that course. He (satan) claims to give people many choices and the freedom to do whatever they desire and want, no laws condemning or restricting them, they can do whatever makes them happy.
God says His law is the law of freedom, love and happiness. To turn onto another path, choosing to disregard His law brings one under the dark banner of enslavement to sin, misery and death. He is allowing those who chose to do so in this world to throw away His law and show where that leads, so people can see the truth of Satan's deceptions.
Satan says God's law is a law of bondage, to cast it off is the road to freedom and anyone rebuking sin and urging people to follow God's ways is intolerant, unloving, and destroying people's freedom. They are an enemy to liberty, and according to him, need to be stopped.
Of course there is the sin of controlling force over people's conscience. The stronger dominating the weaker. That is not Christ's way of love, but neither is upholding sin in any form, whether by force or by a wrong concept of love.
Christ loves the sinner and wants to lift them out of sin, He hates the sin.
In our society people tend to swing to the opposite pole, thinking it wrong to "train up a child in the way they should go", linking that with harsh and wrong methods, and thereby also condemning the loving but firm guidance so essential to help young people make the right choice.
It's even becoming illegal to call many things "sin", which the Bible plainly says is sin.
The world is full of confusion.
Truth has become a subjective, relative thing.
One of the biggest problems is thinking obedience to God's laws is legalism! Thus of course Sunday seems a little thing if obedience to God's call to worship on the day He has blessed is considered "legalistic".
Obedience is not legalism.
Sanctification is part of the gospel, it is being set apart for holy purpose. God wants to set each of us apart to become holy through His sanctifying power and grace. He is our Creator and has set apart the 7th day, made it holy and sanctified (set it apart for holy purpose), and says it is a sign that He is our God and we are His people, and He is the One that sanctifies us. Ezekiel 20:12,20
Thanks R.G. White
Can anyone else, care to elaborate on my previous, concerning question, below?
From supporting scriptures, with Jesus sitting at the right hand of God already, (Hebrews 1:3, 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 7:55-56 Acts 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Revelation 3:21 & etc.) before 1844's claims, is not the most Holy Place, is where God is seated?
Sometimes we try to limit God. He is omnipresent, something we have a hard time understanding.
Yes, at His ascension Christ returned to God the Father. He wasn't separated from God the Father from 31 A.D to 1844.
But that does not destroy the two-phase ministry and judgment hour announced by the first angel, in which They engage just before the second coming.
The earthly sanctuary was limited in many ways, as it was only a shadow set up by God, so people could sense Him dwelling with them without them being consumed by the immense glory and holiness of his Being. But in heaven those limitations are absent. God's glory doesn't need to be hidden in that way, in heaven. Also, even in the earthly temple, God's presence wasn't experienced only in the Most Holy Place. God met with Moses in the sanctuary, in a burning bush, and on Mt. Sinai, and apparently also on the Mt. where Moses died.
Somehow I don't think God, or His throne, is limited to one specific spot in heaven. Yet some seem to think He is???
God's throne is not stationary, at least not in the Biblical descriptions of it. Daniel 7:9 describes his throne like the fiery flame, the wheels like burning fire. And Christ describes His second coming --
In Ezekiel, God is seated between the cherubim, who carry His throne with wheels within wheels.
In the end we see God's throne on the New Earth. (Revelation 22:3)
No one can really answer all those questions as to where God is and how He can be everywhere, and what His throne is literally like. It's a fascinating study, which the finite mind can't really comprehend.
What we can understand is that the shadow example had two phases of ministry. We can understand that there was a Passover feast, symbolizing Christ's death on the cross, at the beginning of the symbolic salvation year. There was the daily service, and then near the end of the salvation year there was a Day of Atonement when everyone was either "in" or "out" of the cleansed congregation, just before the Feast of Tabernacles which symbolized the great harvest and entry into the promised land. That's a map God gave us.
How do we know who and what the "judgment" is for?
"The hour of his judgment is come..." suggests that the moment of divine judgment against the city of Babylon has arrived. If that is the case, there is nothing to fear for believers. Like Daniel 7, the judgment is the trial and sentencing of the great opponent, not of God's people.
Mr. River, you have me wondering just when, in your analysis, Roman 10:14 is to be fulfilled.
And when will God bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, including both the good and evil things that we have done? (Ecclesiastes 12:14)