Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pillars Of The Church

Where in the Bible (in one chapter) do we find pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? If you answered Revelation 14:6-13, you are correct. Let's take a look and see if I am correct.
"Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue and people..." [vs. 6].
In obedience to the command of Christ to "..go unto all the world.." the Adventist church is widely represented over the face of the earth. Spreading the good news of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood, His death on the cross, and His resurrection, and His ongoing intercession for us in the heavenly sanctuary [See Hebrews chapters 5 and 8]  is attested to by the Adventist missionaries and missions (hospitals, schools, etc.) are found in over 200 nations.
"...saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'" [vs.7]
This verse speaks of "fear" (Greek, phobeo--from which is derived, phobia) certainly means--to be afraid of--but also (according to Strong's Concordance, c) to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience [Source: Blue Letter Bible].
Two other important teachings are found in verse 7: the Pre-Advent Judgment and est...intelligent design, regardless of the opinions of man as mere as he is (see yesterday's post).
"And another angel followed, saying, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'"  [vs. 8].
This angel does not speak with a loud voice, but as more matter of fact, because symbolic Babylon (read The Only Holy Apostolic Roman Catholic Church ) has been judged by prophecy, by her history, and her works of mixing things that ought not to be mixed (fornicating), forcing them on those under her power, and enforcing that power with prosecution, persecution, and death. (Babylon, though she lives is as good as dead.)
"Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.'" [vss. 9 and 10].
God is giving the world a very serious warning in these verses. Words I considered key to understanding this message are emphasized. Adventists have always been in agreement with the principals of the Protestant Reformation as to who and what constitutes the beast and the marks in either one's forehead or hand. This portion of the three angel's messages stands as a pillar marking our duty as Seventh-day Adventists to warn against being deceived [See Matthew 24: vss. 4, 11, 23, 24, 25.] either by Rome and her mixture of Christianity and Paganism, or by any alliance between Rome, and what she calls her errant children...Protestants. Sir Isaac Newton was a student of prophecy and wrote identifying these symbols presented in Revelation. Evangelicals err in teaching that the mark in the forehead or hand represents some sort of computer chip. The message is spiritual; the forehead represents that part of the brain that reasons, concludes, and gives consent. The hand represents compliance, but not reasoned consent. That which dooms those who worship wrongly (the beast and his image) is rejection of the Word of God and acceptance of the Rome-inspired and Rome-edited version of the Ten Commandments which, though actually only nine they present to the world as ten. (Did you know these things?)
"And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." [vs.11] [See Rev. 15:2].
The centerpiece of this verse is punishment. Adventists teach that it is the results of the punishment that are eternal and not the punishing. Interestingly, the book of Hebrews sheds light on the issue of no rest.
[See Hebrews 4,  with emphasis on vss. 3-11]. To me, vss. 9 and 10 speak of entering His rest through the Sabbath spoken of in vs. 4.
Revelation is resonant with Hebrews in that those who neither believe nor obey have no rest from their works (symbolic of our vain works of self righteousness), because their righteousness is not of faith!
"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." [vs. 12]. Righteousness by faith is in the heart of this verse. John is telling us that these people are patient, they keep the commandments of God, and they keep (or have) the faith of Jesus. And if these are not elements of righteousness, and righteousness by the faith they have, and keep in Jesus while living in obedience to His commandments, pray tell, what are they?
"Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them'"
 Pillars and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist  Church According to Revelation Chapter 14.
1. Preaching gospel to all the world
2. Fear and respect for God
3. Pre-advent judgment
4. God as Creator
5. Warning the world of spiritual Babylon's motives and mission
6. Warning the world of God's punishment for receiving the mark
7. Lifting up symbolic meaning of Sabbath as rest from works
8. Righteousness by faith in Jesus
9. State of dead; neither heaven nor hell; rest from labor in death

Anyone brave enough to read this entire opus deserves an award. Anyone finding faith and comfort in these words... be blessed in His Name. e.c.

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