Revelation 8

Pum-pum-pum! Pum-pum-pum!

When you hear a trumpet sounding, what do you think of? I think of a huge parade, or maybe a king entering a banquet hall. You might think of a majestic orchestral arrangement, or a lieutenant attempting to wake up his fellow soldiers. Well, in Revelation chapter 8, there are seven trumpets. And they all signify warnings or represent events that have taken place in the past. Today, we’re going to look at the first four trumpets and what they mean to us. Let’s start with the context of the trumpets so that we can really understand what’s going on.

First of all, you find the context of the trumpets in verses 1-6. An angel, whom we understand to be Jesus (RH, July 4, 1893 par. 5, COL 156.2, CET 91.3), comes and stands at the altar of incense. We know that this altar is in the Holy Place (Ex. 30:1-10, EW 251.3), so we know that this represents Jesus moving to the Holy Place, which takes place at the Crucifixion. That’s the backdrop for the trumpets.

In verse 5, it says “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” It appears to us that the censer is being cast down, but you’ll notice that the word “it” is supplied, so the verse could be saying either the fire or the censer is being cast down. I believe it’s the fire because Jesus doesn’t stop mediating for us with His censer until the close of probation (EW 279, 280), and we’ve already concluded that these verses (2-5) are talking about Jesus moving into the Holy Place at the cross.

This fire that is being cast down represents God’s judgement on Jerusalem. When Jesus moved into the Holy Place and threw fire down onto the earth, He had already tried to give them many chances. But they had rejected them over and over again, and now they would reap the consequences.

7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

In the first trumpet, there is hail and fire mingled with blood.

As for the grass, there are many Bible verses that indicate that it represents people (Numbers 22:4; 2 Samuel 23:4; 2 Kings 19:26; Job 5:25; Psalm 37:2; 72:6; 90:5; 92:7; 102:4, 11; 103:15; 129:6; Isaiah 37:27; Isaiah 40:6-7, 1 Peter 1:24), but also some that indicate it represents the Scriptures (Psalms 23). To me, neither of them make sense. Even in the Dark Ages, there was still light from the Bible being shed through the Waldenses and others who remained faithful to God. And there’s obviously never been a time when all mankind was wiped out. The Bible wouldn’t say ALL green grass was burnt up if it wasn’t… However, those are the only two interpretations that I have found, so the one that makes more sense to me would have to be the Word of God. In GC 60.2 it says, “The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests.” At that time, the Bible wasn’t available to the people, and important truths were taken away from the them. Therefore, the green grass was destroyed.

Because water in the sanctuary represents the Holy Spirit,

8And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

9And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

Because everything in Daniel is a prophecy, and Revelation is the revelation of that prophecy, I went to do some research in Daniel. (AA 585.1) In Daniel 2, the mountain that fills the whole earth is God’s kingdom, so I though that maybe the mountain represented God’s kingdom. It mentions a mountain being a kingdom twice, but three other times it mentions a mountain in correlation to the Holy Mountain/Mount Zion. And fire represents God’s righteousness, so it makes sense that Mount Zion would be burning with the fire of God’s righteousness. It’s the rejection of His righteousness that kills the living creatures and makes the sea blood.

Water usually represents people (Rev 17:15), so in this case, it’s the people who reject Christ’s righteousness that turn to blood, or rather, get destroyed.

10And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

11And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

I think it’s interesting that it say the polluted water is what kills the men. Water in this case obviously does not mean people. I think it represents error, and the poepl who drink are made spiritually bitter (against religion and anything to do with it), or that are spiritually dead.

The star represents Satan and his errors. They are what makes the water bitter. His cloud of error pollutes the church, causeing mayn to dies spiritually.

12And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

I didn’t get to study this trumpet as much…. but it kind of sounds like the signs of the end mentioned in Matthew 24, which happened before 1844. I’m not sure if I can make a connection there though.
Something cool I noticed about the 5th trumpet is that the trumpet mentioned in Joel 2:1, 12-17 is a message directed to everyone who is spiritually lukewarm, letting them know that if they are going to stand in the last days, they need a serious reformation. It connects to the warning given to the Laodicean church in Rev. 3:14-19, and it’s the same warning presented by the first angel in Rev.14:6(the first angel’s message correlates to the trumpet. (GC 311.1)

In conclusoin, I really enjoyed studying this topic. Thank you so much for your spiritually enriching class :)

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Daniel 2

The second chapter of Daniel tells the story of a very troublesome dream and its prophetic meaning. This elusive dream was so significant to the ruler at the time, King Nebuchadnezzar, that he ordered the annihilation of all his wise men because they were unable to tell him what it was or what it meant. This dream has been used countless times today to prove the authenticity and reliability of the Bible. Why is it so important? And how could it apply to us today?

The telling of the dream begins in verse 31 and continues to verse 36. But more of interest to us in this study is the interpretation, which is given in verses 37-45. We see in the first four verses four kingdoms, represented by gold, silver, brass, and iron. The kingdom of gold represents Babylon, the kingdom of silver represents Medo-Persia, the kingdom of brass represents Greece, and the kingdom of iron represents pagan Rome. Throughout the whole image, there is the common idea of paganism. GC 438.2, 4SP 276.2. GC 680.1

The feet of the statue are the divided fourth kingdom, representing papal Rome, which is made up of paganism (iron) and Christianity (clay). 4BC 1168.8, GC 591.2 It is a union of church and state, appearing to be Christian, but actually pagan. The toes on the feet, also made of iron and clay and representing papal Rome, represent ten kings. Dan. 2:44 Protestantism, because it follows in the footsteps of the papacy, makes up the toes. It’s a combination of an apostate church and the state, receiving power from the devil. 7BC 983.5 The kingdom is both strong and broken, attempting to serve both self and Christ. It is like the Laodicean church, who appears to keep the laws of God, but is actually more interested in self.

The toes also mingle themselves with the seed of men. Since the mingling of iron and clay had two meanings, spiritual and symbolic, then the toes mingling with the seed of men must also have a double meaning. “They,” or the toes of the divided fourth kingdom, refers to apostate Protestants, and the seed of man refers to Christ and all who are in Him. So, the apostate protestants mingle with Christ and his followers by being in the same church. Eventually, God will call them out of those churches to follow Him forever.

The stone represents the law of God, which will one day govern the whole world, represented by the mountain that fills the whole earth. It crushes the feet, or the apostate Protestants, because they cannot survive the judgment. The stone also symbolizes Jesus, who we must build on, or be ground to powder. MB 150.2

“Gospel truth ruins if it does not save.” 5T 134.1

 

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Abomination of Desolation Exegesis

The four Scripture texts where we’ll be looking at the abomination of desolation are Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14.

In 4BC 1145.6, we can see that during that time period, the image on the banner (ensign) of their pagan rulers, the Romans, was referred to as an abomination, especially when it was placed in the temple or in a prominent place. It’s interesting to note that Matthew 24:15 says that Daniel was standing in the Holy place when he talked about the abomination of desolation, and that the image on the banner of pagan’s Rome was specifically considered an abomination when it was set up in the holy place of the temple.  Ctr 178.6; CTr 366.4; GC 446.1

In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke a twofold prophecy to His disciples. It had two fulfillments: it foretold the fall of Jerusalem by pagan Rome,  while also pointing to the terrors of the end times, imposed by papal Rome. GC 25.3, MOB 120.2, DA 628.1 Knowing that there must be two meanings, we notice that the Roman ensign, or the “abomination,” was the signal for the early Christians to flee into more desolate and solitary places.  Just like the ensign, the papal Sabbath, or the Sunday law, must be the sign for us to leave the large cities and move to more secluded places. Mar 180.1 That papal law  is the “abomination that makes desolate,” or the warning that sends us out of the city, thus making the city desolate.

The daily sacrifice is also mentioned in these verses. This sacrifice was halted when the Romans conquered Jerusalem and ransacked the Temple. But if the prophecy is truly twofold, then we can conclude that there must be another type of daily for us today that will come to an end when the modern “abomination of desolation,” or the Sunday law, is set up. We know that Jesus is up in heaven now, acting as our High Priest. Hebrews 3:1 And if he is the high priest, then He must be offering up sacrifices for us daily, just as a high priest would do. So, the “daily” for us today must be the close of probation, when he will stop offering up sacrifices for us, and will let him who is “righteous be righteous still, and let him who is holy, be holy still.” Revelation 22:11

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Salvation in the Sanctuary

“The subject of the sanctuary… opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great advent movement and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.” GC 423.1

The sanctuary is all about character. The 2 types of work done by the priests, the daily division work and the yearly division work, worked on the character – they were the processes used to transfer the people’s sins to the sanctuary, and later cleanse the sanctuary. The daily division worked especially on the character. Through the steps of repentance, faith, and baptism, represented by the animal, the altar of burnt offering, and the laver, people could take those 3 steps needed to secure pardon from sin and acceptance with God.

The person would put their hands on the head the animal, which was usually a lamb, thus transferring their sins to it through confession. Confession is the evidence of our repentance, so therefore the animal symbolizes repentance. Then, the priest would offer the animal on the altar of burnt offering, representing the faith the person needed to have to believe in Christ and His atoning sacrifice. And lastly, the priest would wash his hands before he went in to the Holy place, representing baptism, the step that we must take every day by committing to take steps one and two.

In the holy place, the candlestick was a representation of the Holy Spirit and His work, as was the laver and the fiery stream. Titus 3:5; GC 414.3 The table of showbread in the holy place represented Jesus, the Living Bread. PP 354.1 And the altar of incense (substitutionary righteousness) represented Christ’s mediation, as did the altar of burnt offering in the outer court (substitutionary death) and the censer, blood, and mercy seat in the Most Holy Place (imparted righteousness).

In the yearly division, the high priest went in to the Most Holy Place once a year to cleanse the sanctuary. This division has two different parts that we must go through. The first part is the investigative judgment, which determines which people are will receive the benefits of the atonement. The only way we can receive these benefits are by daily taking the steps of repentance and faith. The benefits are the blotting out of our sins by the Holy Spirit. GC 421.2.3; 417.2.3; 620.1; 611.3

All of this is summed up by the three stages of salvation that work on our character. They occur in the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place. To go through each stage of salvation, a person has to take the 3 steps daily, which he can do because of the 3 resources. The 3 stages are titled conversion (outer court), progressive conversion (holy place), and perfection (most holy place). The stage of conversion is when we receive a new character, a new heart is created within us, and we are transferred from Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom. Progressive conversion is the stage next stage, and it’s the one we’ll be in for the rest of our lives, as we strive to gain victory over self and build a Christlike character. And the last stage is perfection of character, which we receive as a gift.

The sanctuary is very character-focused – it is an “object lesson of what our characters should be in simplicity, in beauty, in harmony.” GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 31

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Bottomless Pit Exegesis

Search results for “bottomless pit”:

1) Rev. 9:1

2) Rev. 9:2

3) Rev. 9:11

4) Rev. 11:7

5) Rev. 17:8

6) Rev. 20:1

7) Rev. 20:3

Search results for “pit” (5421) – “phrear”

1)     Luke 14:5

2)     John 4:11

3)     John 4:12

4)     Rev. 9:1

5)     Rev. 9:2

Rev. 9:1, 2 talk about a fallen star. We know that this fallen star is an angel ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­because we’ve seen before (Rev. 1:20) that stars represent angels. If it’s an angel that has fallen from heaven to Earth, than we know that it must be Lucifer, because he is the only angel that has ever fallen to Earth. So therefore, in Rev. 9:11 the angel of the bottomless pit must be Lucifer – he’s the one that received the key in Rev. 9:1. Furthermore, this angel is named Apollyon, which in Greek means “Destroyer,” and the only angel that could be appropriately named as Destroyer is Lucifer.

These two verses (Rev. 9:1, 2) are also the only verses where from the phrase “bottomless pit”, pit is translated as the word phrear. The word phrear is translated as either well or pit, and so we can see that this waterless pit is totally without Christ (John 4:14 – Jesus is the water of life).

In Revelation 11, a beast comes out of the bottomless pit and makes war against the two witnesses, which we know to be the Old and New Testament from the context. (GC88 267.1) Normally we would refer to Rome as the beast, but Rome had clothed the two witnesses in sackcloth by obscuring the Word from the common people.  We see clearly from reading Ellen G. White’s writings that this beast is France with its atheistic views. In 1793, France passed laws saying there was no God and prohibited reading the Bible or doing anything else spiritually related. (GC 269.4 – 274.3, 287.2) We can also see that the pit is a place strongly influenced by Satan – “…some power of satanic origin and character would rise to make war upon the Bible,” referring to France, who rose out of the pit to make war upon the Bible. (GC 269.3)

We see clearly in the Great Controversy that the bottomless pit represents the earth as a dark and desolate place. It has been brought back to its former condition described in Genesis 1:2.  “That the expression “bottomless pit” represents the earth in a state of confusion and darkness is evident from other scriptures. Concerning the condition of the earth “in the beginning,” the Bible record says that it “was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” [The Hebrew word here translated “deep” is rendered in the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Hebrew Old Testament by the same word rendered “bottomless pit” In Revelation 20:1-3.]  Genesis 1:2. Prophecy teaches that it will be brought back, partially at least, to this condition.” (GC 658.3)

So we can see that this pit is a place of error and falsehood, controlled by Satan. All of the different beasts that rise out of it are under his control (Revelation 9:11 – “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit”) Although Satan tries to defeat the Bible and God’s law, he will not prevail.

This pit is also a desolate place, where Satan and his angels will be thrown at the end of time. They will be bound for a thousand years, not able to decieve anyone. Eventually, they will be destryed, totally erasing sin from this world forever.

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The Third Angel’s Message

“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 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. 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.’ Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12

“The third angel’s message is to be regarded as of the highest importance. It is a life and death question. The impression made by this message will be proportionate to the earnestness and solemnity with which it is proclaimed.” 7BC 980.3

The Third Angel’s message contains information of vital importance to us, the people living in the last days of the earth’s history. Although it started right after October 22, 1844, it extends to today, to our generation. The Third Angel’s message involved the subject of the sanctuary,which was the “key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844.” (GC 423.1) It was designed to put “the children of God upon their guard,” and also showed the way into the most Holy Place, where Jesus had gone in 1844. This event is portrayed five times in the Bible – in Daniel 8:14, Daniel 7:13, Malachi, Matthew 25, and Matthew 22.  EW 254.2 (1SG 171.1; EW 260.1). However, if someone had chosen to reject the two former messages, they wouldn’t accept the third angel’s message, and because of that, they wouldn’t be able to go into the Holy Place. So all three messages are extremely important for us to accept and proclaim – they are a three-fold message only in the order of their rise. They are strongly linked together, and if we don’t understand the first, and then the second, we won’t be able to understand the third. EW 254.2, CW 26.2, 2SM 117.2

One message that the third angel also gives the message of the mediation of Christ and the perpetuity of the law of God, which is equally important for us to understand.  4SP 275.2 However, the primary message that the third angel gives is the message of justification by faith through the righteousness of Christ. Ev 190.3, LDE 200.3 This is an equally important concept to understand. To realize that we can only be justified by our faith in the righteousness of Christ is the only way that we will become perfect and be able to spend eternity in heaven.

The Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message was a two-part warning. The first part was that “Babylon was fallen,” and the second part was to “Come out of her, my people.” These two announcements, which make up the Loud Cry, combine with the Third Angel’s Message to constitute the final warning. The first part of the Loud Cry, “Babylon is fallen,” announces the three sins of Babylon. The first sin is drinking of the wine of error and false doctrines (including the false sabbath). The second sin is a union of church and state, and the third sin is selfishness – “merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” The second part of the Loud Cry says, “Come out of her, my people” – inviting those who are fallen to come out of Babylon and join God’s side.

The Loud Cry comes to unite with the voice of the third angel, and to give power and force to the third angel’s message. EW 277.1 It is the second distinct call to the churches – a call to leave the fallen churches and enter into the marriage in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. 7BC 985.5; GC 383.3; 389.2-390.2 It is a call to anyone who accepts the three angel’s messages, and the time to answer the call is now. 1SG 195.1 Jesus has almost completed His work in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, and He wants us to accept the three angel’s messages and make the decision to follow Him. He wants us to be in that group who “keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.”  And to do this, we need to be spreading the third angel’s message to everyone we know.

“The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.” LDE 200.3

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Second Angel’s Message

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Rev. 14:8

The Second Angel’s Message is a call to come out of Babylon. It’s directed towards all of the people in the Protestant churches because those churches had trusted in their own strength instead of the Bible, causing them to experience a moral fall. Because they didn’t trust in the Bible, they rejected the First Angel’s Message, resulting in a blindness to the Second Angel’s Message. 4SP 232.1.2, EW 237.2, This had a more direct application to the Protestant churches in the United States because there it had been the “most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected.” GC 389.2 All of this was happening during the summer of 1844, and the progressive change would go on until the National Sunday Law.

The Second Angel’s Message also includes the midnight cry. The midnight cry was the message presented in Matthew 25:6: “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him!” It came in the late summer and extended until the fall of 1844, near the close of the second angel’s message. EW 238.1.2, GC 398.3 The midnight cry gave power to and shed light upon the Second Angel’s Message, thus accomplishing a mighty work. It prepared people “to enter with Jesus by faith into the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary” and encouraged them to “seek a living experience for themselves.” 1SG 171.1, EW 238.3

The Second Angel’s Message was the first distinct call made to the churches, later followed by the Loud Cry. 7 BC 985.5 The call, as we mentioned earlier, was directed towards the people in the Protestant churches, calling them to come out of those churches and follow the teachings they knew to be true and Bible-based. GC 340.1 About 50,000 people heeded the call and left the churches. GC 376.1, 4SP 232.1 Although this call was to leave the fallen churches, it was also a call to “leave the holy place in preparation to go to the most holy place.” GC 427.1 And this is the call that we must obey today! We must follow Jesus into the most holy place and receive the love, joy and peace that only those in the most holy place can.

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