God Reacts: The Three Angels’ Message


(Spectrumbot) #1

I do my most mediocre work on texts I know best. Familiarity breeds contempt. Knowledge, or the illusion of knowing something, can be an obstacle to progress. I read in a book on neuroscience that the pleasure of misunderstanding is indistinguishable from the pleasure of understanding. “Misunderstanding” does not advertise itself as that — it poses as insight.

How can we find a remedy for this problem when we get to the text that in my faith community is known as “the Three Angels’ Message” (Revelation 14:6-12)? This is a text we know well. It is a cornerstone of my denomination’s sense of identity. Familiarity hovers over the text to such an extent that few bother to go there — why spend time on something so well known? Fewer still dare suggest that this text, too, has fallen victim to the contempt that familiarity breeds.

My suggested remedies will be the ones that have helped me. The first is to become a re-reader, a recommendation already at the top of my list with respect to reading Revelation. The second is to become a slow reader. For me, this means to read the text in Greek over and over, to feel its tenor and cadence, to hear it read aloud as it was read in believers’ homes in the seven cities of Revelation. Reading the text in Greek is not an option for most readers but reading slowly is. Much can be gained by reading more than one translation.

Third, examine the Old Testament background of the text thoroughly. If one thing has guided my work as a New Testament scholar more than I think is the average, it is that I read the Old Testament background texts with the utmost care. This includes reading that text, too, in the original language and to examine how the best Old Testament scholars read the text in its context. I cannot begin to state how much this has enriched my quest.

Fourth, I need to be a questioning reader, seeking to overcome the attitude that I know my subject well and need not spend much effort on it. Fifth, submit to the rigor of peer review. I say this in case a scholar or teacher is reading this. To the non-specialist I will only say this: accept that for most texts there can be more than one plausible interpretation. Do not rush to shut down inquiry. We live by nothing less than peer review in the field of medicine, as I know well from the more than three hundred scientific articles that my wife has published over the years, the dissertations she has supervised, and all the articles she has been asked to review for various journals. When I took up biblical studies at an academic level, I decided that 1) I would try to publish outside my own denomination; 2) I would not self-publish; and 3) I would accept the rigor of peer review. I don’t think the concern is redundant, and “the Three Angels’ Message” could be a case in point.

Framework

I have in a previous submission quoted David Barr’s view, and I will do it again. We are in textual territory where “the dragon acts and God reacts.” It is “the dragon’s story.” What we call “the Three Angels’ Message” is not the dragon’s story, of course, but the message has a context, a horizon, and the horizon is the activity of the dragon. God takes an initiative aimed at pre-empting and muting the impact of the action. What I call framework can also be called context. No interpretation will succeed if it isolates the text from its context. The dissertation I wrote at the University of St. Andrews eventually gets to an examination of one single text, Revelation 14:12, but most of the thesis is devoted to context. What is the story line of the book as a whole? What are the concerns in the immediate context, in this case chapters 12-14? In broad strokes, we have a framework describing how the dragon acts (13:1-18), and John will describe how God reacts (14:6-12). What frames the story at this point is the dragon’s activity at the point when a final, climactic showdown is in the making. It is “the dragon’s story” in its final blaze.

Unity

For the reader concerned with detail, should we call it “the Three Angels’ Message” or “the Three Angels’ Messages”? I prefer the singular — it is one message — proclaimed in mid-heaven by three messengers. The hypothesis of one single message sharpens the focus and the sense that a confrontation is taking place.

First Messenger

“And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternally valid message to proclaim to those who live on the earth — to every nation and tribe and language and people” (14:6). This is the first glimpse of God’s reaction. The message is called a euangelion, without the article. The absence of the article indicates that John has not used the word before. The wise counsel, heeded by a few interpreters, is to let John explain the meaning.

The angel’s “gospel” should not be confused with the “gospel” in New Testament usage elsewhere even if “gospel” in the newest interpretations of the letters of Paul has acquired a meaning closer to what Revelation has in mind. For Old Testament background, Psalm 96:1-13 is the strongest candidate text. The “gospel” proclaimed in both places is good, but it is not — strictly speaking — news. It is “an eternally valid message” about God, truth raised from the mud of misrepresentation by the Lamb that was killed with violence (Revelation 5:6).

One of the translation options for the word Diabolos is Mudslinger. The adversary in the conflict is “the Devil and Satan” — the Mudslinger and the Antagonist (12:9; 20:2), with God as the target of the mudslinging. Appreciation for this diminishes the novelty in the message, but it magnifies the sense that something broken is being repaired. It must be repaired now, at the point when the dragon takes mudslinging and character-assassination to a new level. For this reason, there will be no concession to the Mudslinger. Every element in the angel’s message counts: it is “valid”; it is always and “eternally valid”; it refutes the misrepresentation brought to bear on God (Genesis 3:1).

The first messenger proclaims in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for his hour has come — the critical moment [hē hora tēs kriseōs autou] — and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7, translation mine). What has the dragon done to make this a relevant reaction on God’s part? He has been spewing misrepresentation right and left and is in Revelation hard at work doing it. It is no accident that he is called “the Ancient Serpent, the Mudslinger and the Antagonist” (12:9; 20:2). It is no accident that the mouth is everywhere the most conspicuous anatomic feature of the monstrosity in the trumpets (9:17-19) and the beast from the sea (13:5-6). It is no accident that the “blasphemy” ascribed to the slanderer is consistently best understood as “slander,” misrepresentation, and mudslinging (13:1, 5, 6; 17:3).

To give God glory, a theme here as well as in the Gospel of John (John 12:28; 11:4, 40-44; 13:31-32), is to do the opposite of what the dragon is doing. Truth will replace slander; people will speak well of God. The choice is not to worship God or nothing — or to move from a state of believing in nothing to believing in God. It is a choice between two sides, a call to turn to God and away from the imitator. We can imagine that the messenger flying in mid-heaven has advanced training in Graeco-Roman rhetoric, knows where to put the emphasis and how to bring out the implied contrast. I invite you to practice the best possible intonation, in a loud voice:

worship him who created heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water (14:7),

not the one who destroys the rivers and the springs of water (8:10; 16:4)

We could go places with a message like that, with the right intonation! There is a contrast, would you agree, between the one who created “the springs of water” (14:7) and the one who destroys “the springs of water” (8:10; 16:4). Again, the devil is in the details.

Under such circumstances, what will “the hour of his judgment” look like (14:7)? Is it to be understood as a judicial event that begins at a certain point in time? God is the judge. Each human being has a case to be determined before the eternal bar of justice. Judgment is passed based on a life record completed. All the relevant facts are in. Within such a notion of judgment, the task of the messenger is to inform the inhabitants of the earth what God is doing and, while there is still time, put his or her house in order.

Such a conception might work, but there is a better one, within the framework that “the dragon acts and God reacts.” This is not judgment as a judicial event but judgment as revelatory moment. History is not finished. All the facts are not yet in. Krisis, the word for “judgment,” is now “the critical moment.” The dragon is about to show his hand, and “the hour of his [God’s] judgment” has the tenor of revelation. We have a similar notion in medicine, from the days before we had antibiotics. Pneumococcal pneumonia, then frequently a lethal disease, sometimes declared for life. In Norway, physicians called it “the crisis,” the moment when the disease would reveal what it was up to for a given patient.

We have precisely this notion of judgment in the Gospel of John, in almost the same words as in Revelation. Jesus is headed for the cross (John 12:20-33). He explains that the grain of wheat will fall into the ground and die (John 12:24). Self-giving is the law of life in this conception; it is also the path of discipleship (John 12:24-26). When he is lifted up (on the cross), minds will be changed, and people will be drawn to him (John 13:32). But the “judgment” in the story, the krisis, is revelatory, not judicial. It is judgment as “critical moment.”

Now is the judgment of this world — the critical moment [nun krisis estin tou kosmou toutou] — now the ruler of this world will be cast out (John 12:31, translation mine).

This notion works best in Revelation, too. If we take it in this direction, the subject is not the verdict God is passing on the inhabitants of the earth. Instead, the subject is a God who seeks to put the world in a state of high alert concerning the dragon’s design on them. It is indeed “the critical moment” (Revelation 14:7).

Second Messenger

The messengers follow each other, the second messenger mindful of the message of his predecessor. My comment must be brief. “Babylon” needs a broad, cosmic, and trans-historical scope. It must not let go of its relation to the story of the dragon. He was once “the Shining One,” in one of the Bible’s finest poems described as “the king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:4). That is Babylon’s point of origin. What is the point of completion? It is this: “And in you” — in this Babylon — “was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been killed with violence on earth” (Revelation 18:24). You can blame the Roman Empire for much, but we should not blame it for the blood “of all who have been killed with violence” (18:24). We can blame successors to Rome for all kinds of evils, but the Babylon that is behind the blood of “all” is a conception greater than these.

Third Messenger

It is not hard to see the pattern of the dragon acting and God reacting in the third angel’s message. This was coming all along — the dragon’s action is the high point of “the mark of the beast” in the previous chapter (13:15-17). Partly by deception, partly by coercion, the triumvirate in Revelation 13 seeks to put its “mark” on “those who live on the earth.” God responds in two ways. First, he warns people not to take the mark (14:9-11). Next, he puts forward his own mark (7:1-17; 14:1), “the seal of God.” It is quite possible that God does this pre-emptively. Revelation does not present “the confrontation of signs” in a linear fashion; we must trace the tapestry by going back and forth in the text. (I have described “the confrontation of signs” in The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day.) Two things should be said about these “marks.” First, they are profoundly representative of the two sides of the cosmic conflict — the mark reflects the name. Second, the dragon’s side is in the business of imitation. Its “mark” must be, too.

I wish to end with the concluding statement of “the Three Angels’ Message,” Revelation 14:12. How should we read this text within a pattern where “the dragon acts and God reacts”? How should we read it, acknowledging that the dragon’s misrepresentation of God necessitated a mind-numbing investment to make right what went wrong? How, too, should we read it when it is obvious that God makes things right through the Lamb that was killed with violence?

I don’t think the answer is difficult, but it is different from the way many read this text. The usual way is to see two things affirmed, “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (14:12). This is how Luther would have read it if he had bothered with Revelation: he would see law and gospel in the text, obligation and promise. This misses the mark in one of the most clarifying texts in Revelation. I propose to read it like this:

“What matters in this situation” — the situation when the cosmic conflict comes to an end— “is the perseverance of the saints, those who hold on to the commandments of God as revealed by the faithfulness of Jesus” (14:12). This translation affirms one thing, not two; it speaks of the constancy of God that was demonstrated in Jesus. “The faithfulness of Jesus” has in this translation not been separated from the key element in the book, the revelation of the Lamb as a victim of violence (5:6). It belongs to other paired phrases that dot the landscape of this book, all with similar meaning.

the word of God as explained by the testimony of Jesus Christ (1:2)

the word of God as explained by the testimony of Jesus (1:9)

the word of God as explained by the testimony they had in their possession (6:9)

the commandments of God as explained by the testimony of Jesus (12:17)

the commandments of God as explained by the faithfulness of Jesus (14:12)

the testimony of Jesus as it explains the word of God (20:4).

There is a melody in this book, a theme, even a refrain. God has been explained in the world through the witness of Jesus. This is what matters when imitation lets loose the final subversion (14:12). The dragon tried to imitate the testimony of Jesus, too; he also deals in witnesses pretending to be killed with violence (13:3). But it will not work. There is a telling difference between the two, the one who was killed with violence (5:6; 13:8) and the one who uses violence to kill (13:15; 18:24).

Further Reading:

Revelation: For Re-Readers Only, January 5, 2019

Apokalypsis, January 8, 2019

Revelation and the Neighborhood, January 14, 2019

Timeout: Revelation and the Crisis of Historicism, January 18, 2019

Crisis in the Heavenly Council, January 21, 2019

Timeout: Cosmic Conflict vs. Historicism, January 25, 2019

Silence in Heaven — for about Half an Hour, January 28, 2019

Timeout: From Daniel to Revelation, February 1, 2019

Revelation 7: The 144,000 and the 233,000, February 4, 2019

Timeout: Storm Clouds over Historicism, February 7, 2019

Revelation’s Trumpets: The Devil is in the Details, February 11, 2019

Timeout: Disarray and Trivia in the Trumpets, February 14, 2019

Revelation 12: Don’t Rush at Ground Zero, February 19, 2019

Timeout: “1,260 Days” and the Smoke Signals in Flyover Country, February 22, 2019

Revelation 13: “The Dragon’s Story,” February 26, 2019

Timeout: “And Its Number is 666,” February 28, 2019

Sigve K. Tonstad is Research Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Loma Linda University.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9455

(Patrick Travis) #2

Sigve,

You mention Rev.16:4 and imply it is not God that turns the springs of water to blood.(Ex.7:14-24.) Or, have I misunderstood you. The angel in charge says this judgment is just. Personally, I suggest, satan is never just. he is a liar and deceiver and complicit in all that is evil.
The order to pour out these 7 bowl/plagues has come from the temple of God to pour out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath on earth. Vs.1 Is he simply following Satan’s desires and permitting them?
So, does God at his point righteously judge and destroy or is it still the deceiver of God’s character who destroys…howbeit with God’s permissive wrath?
Regards


(Ray Smith) #3

Sigve, an inspired interpretation I believe now that I see it, built on what John has already made clear about those who keep God’s commandments.

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in Him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:23,24.

What else can guarantee us victory in Christ over everything the mudslinger can throw at us?


(Frankmer7) #4

Faith that expresses itself in love. John and Paul are saying essentially the same thing as the law of the kingdom, Ray.

Thanks…

Frank


(Richard Ludders) #5

Pat,

I believe you have Sigve’s book, "The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day. The answer to your question is found in the chapter, “Confrontation of Signs”.


(Patrick Travis) #6

Yes Richard you graciously sent me the book.


(Patrick Travis) #7

PS. It may be of interest to you I shared it with the late Donna Heirich that use to post here often. We often disagreed and she wrote her comments after my many throughout the book.
The issue I have with Sigve and others that like his views that have similarity with Graham Maxwell is their difficulty in accepting a truly loving God does at times destroy His creation and the created.
From the flood to the Egyptian plagues, to the destruction of Aarons Sons in the tabernacle, etc etc. From Ananias and Sapphira, to Rev.19,20 there are numerous warnings in the NT of God’s righteous wrath to come.
All of these can not be of Satan or him just permitted of God to show how evil Satan is.
Neither do I accept some of the “openness of God” concepts that always have God merely reacting as he observes Satan’s moves.
The Bible I read says God knows the beginning to the end. Isa. 46:10. He is righteous, longsuffering and gracious but that by no means will acquit the guilty.(There is a means provided however) He is LOVE that destroys Satan, and those that that have clung and cling to sin. That is the Bible that I read description of the Godhead.
I can not rewrite and reframe it to say what I want it to.
Regards,
Pat


(Patrick Travis) #8

PS. Can I say that is not necessarily
Things they say about God’s goodness and faithfulness but what they dont say about His righteous judgment.


(Sirje) #9

My Bible says - …"who keep the commandments of God and have faith IN Jesus. This is what gives the saints perseverance.

What I’m seeing here is a reading, with a preordained SDA mandate intact. This description of the “saints” is echoed in several places in Revelation - 12:17 keep the commandments of God and HOLD to (or HAVE) the testimony of Jesus; 19:10 HOLD (HAVE) the testimony of Jesus.

The issue is - does the testimony of Jesus mean - the message OF Jesus (his life and teachings); or, a faith IN Jesus. It could be seen either way; however, the meaning of “testimony of Jesus” is not the same in both. If all we have is Jesus as our EXAMPLE, then we are left without a SAVIOR, (the LAMB).

From the same author, JOHN, in I John 5:11, John defines testimony as follows:

“The one who believes in the Son of God has the TESTIMONY in himself; the one who does not believe in God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." - This is a faith in what Jesus has accomplished; but, this is also the part that is missing in all of the SDA explanations of "testimony of Jesus”.


(Frank Peacham) #10

I understand that Dr. Tonstad is calling for a broader interpretation of “Babylon.” As the power base of Satan throughout the history. Rather then the EGW and the Great Controversy view that Babylon represents the fallen Protestant Churches. These churches have insisted on keeping Sunday, the Papal Sabbath, and thus the judgment and wrath of God is declared in the Third Angel’s message. They will be placed in the lake of fire that represents such a large number of individuals that their smoke ascends all the way up to heaven.

In this view a personal witness of–compassion, kindness and love–take a secondary place to Sabbath keeping. Sunday worship is the greatest issue that rises God’s anger and judgment–to nearly destroy humanity the second time. However does this really make sense?


#11

The three angels’ messages are proclaimed by God’s people to counter Satan and his end-time allies—the dragon, a symbol of paganism/spiritualism; the sea beast, which signifies Roman Catholicism; and the false prophet, or lamblike beast, representing apostate Protestantism
(Revelation 13). They will operate up through the time of the sixth plague (Rev. 16:13, 14). Thus, the world is presented with two rival messages, each with the goal to win the allegiance of the people on
earth.

THE ABOVE QUOTE IS FROM THE SUNDAY MARCH 3, SABBATH SCHOOL LESSON

  1. Where do we place the orthodox churches (particularly the eastern orthodox churches who are the descendants of the 7 churches in Revelation) in the above lesson interpretation?

  2. Does it mean that the SDA church and the Eastern Orthodox church, are the only true churches of God?


(Steve Mga) #12

Good question regarding the Eastern Orthodox church. We have a large community
here in Macon who attend there. I enjoy their food and entertainment celebration
every year.
The Orthodox Study Bible – Old Testament Text: St. Athanasius Academy
Septuagint. New Testament Text: The New King James Version.

For Information about the Orthodox Church I would recommend this book–
“The Orthodox Church [new edition]”, by Timothy Ware.
A clear, detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church written for the non-
Orthodox as well as for Orthodox Christians who wish to know more about
their own traditions.

I believe you will find THIS look at Revelation a REFRESHING LOOK at the
MEANING of Revelation.
“Reading Revelation Resposibly – uncivil worship and witness. Following the
Lamb into the New Creation,” by Michael J. Gorman.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #13

I view the contest of Rev 14 as similar to the Three worthies of Daniel. It maybe The worship of the Creator ie.the Sabbath or the,Impostor ie Sunday. which is the basic Adventist View. I see the mark in the forehead as mental consent and the mark in the hand as material support. The problem I face is the baggage that Adventism, particularly under the Wilsons et al. Such ego centric self congratulatory is a turn off.,We really need to know what Paul meant about Sabbath day’s. Or what John meant by the Lords Day. Frankly the SDA Church in Augusta is so off the mark as to be intolerable.


#14

Thanks, for your book recommendations


(Carolyn Wesner) #15

Thanks for this study! I always come up against the Sabbath/Sunday worship thing, much more so this month when I am the SS leader in our church’s one and only class, which uses the quarterly . The Sabbath commandment only says to stop your daily work - nothing about worshiping only/at all on that day. I know lots of Sabbath “keepers” who don’t work then and also go to church. I know lots of Sunday churchgoers (not “keepers”) who attend church then go home and mow the lawn. I ask: if the Beast mandates worshiping on Sunday, where is the problem? I still wouldn’t work on Saturday, and worshiping God is good at any time. Or, if Sunday was declared to be the Day of No Work and the Day of Going to Church too, that still doesn’t affect my Saturday No Work and Going to Church Day. It just means that I considerately mow my lawn Monday-Friday. The law would have to be that the world under the Beast’s control would mandate Saturday WORK in order to break the commandment. I still have a very hard time believing that all other world religions (except the Roman group and the “Apostates”, and they would be outnumbered) would tune in to this at all. Though it sounds odd to me, it’s a big deal in orthodox SDA congregations. Personally, my preference for the Mark as “the lovers of money” = Babylon - it touches everybody everywhere, and looks like Rev 18 altogether…


(Steve Mga) #16

Carolyn –
If you read and understand the requests of God regarding the Sabbath is that
this is to be a time when EVERYONE in the Family Grouping, whether biological
or in employ are to celebrate time together.
NOT in individual activities, but enjoying eating together, praising God together,
celebrating together for 24 hours. Even the animals are to have this day to “rest and relax”.
It is my understanding from reading Jewish literature, this is also a time that as
part of celebrating the beginning of the Sabbath husbands and wife are to “celebrate”
together, alone.
However, there is nothing wrong with Celebrating together with the Larger Community
on that day, as Jews were doing long before the arrival of Christ in the local Synagogues.


#17

My orientation to Sabbath/Shabbat is to simply accept as a Gift. No rules. A little preparation, yes: get house and self ready in expectation of a Special Visitor at sunset. Most importantly, I mentally shut down and shut out the frenzy and the frustrations of the ending week.

I have a rather ornate box that I take down and show the g-kids on Friday evenings. They marvel at its beautiful, spectacular decorations. When taking off the top and showing the inside, they see it’s empty! I explain: “imagine this as your Sabbath Gift Box. Yes, it’s empty… but it’s ready for you to fill, by focusing on ways to enjoy YOUR Sabbath, finding rest and restoration for body, mind, and soul. Fill the hours by renewing your faith experience, embracing peacefulness, and having fun! No rules… enjoy a wonderful 24-hr walk with your Creator!”


(Steve Mga) #18

Mel –
We are 3 thousand, 5 hundred years from the 50 days when the Israelites
came out of Slavery. THEY are NOW their OWN Masters. They had to
No. 1. Learn HOW to transition from Slave mentality to Master mentality and
to be able to Govern their own lives without someone telling them what to do.
No, 2. They had to learn HOW to love a wonderfully, new, and yet STRANGE
type of God. They had to have INSTRUCTION HOW to “rest” on Sabbath.
It was to be a FAMILY event. NOT each one going off and doing their own
thing. No taking care of animals. Mother NOT cooking over an open fire all
day, away from family. Even hired help were to be part of the family activities.
As Carolyn mentioned – Father is NOT to be out there by himself cutting the
grass. Away from family activities. TV, cooking, cleaning take family members
away from each other, away from interacting with each other emotionally,
verbally.
The Israelites [and many of us today’s society] had to LEARN HOW to do that
by written instruction before it could become Automatic response and planning.

NEW SDAs are in the same position as the Israelites 50 days from Slavery. HOW
to have a Sabbath.
For many SDAs, Sabbath is the time to come home and “take a nap”.


#19

@tjzwemer, Thomas, thank you for your repeated “refocus” on the global message within Revelation, I find that the IJ restricts and tunnels (from the SDA viewpoint, to a doctrine/sect perspective which is not in the text. Something bothered me about this article and it took some time for me to think thru it.

Here are my thoughts:

One of the lessons or viewpoints I’ve picked up along the way is the valuation of things. Having been Adventist from age 12 onward, and was for about 40 years…, I discovered that self-worth (value) is not worth much value if it is not relation-ally tied to some faith relationship with God.

In 2009 I was on a long trip to the beach on vacation, my wife and I were listening to a cd and to a presentation/sermon/play entitled the Bema Judgment — (in SDA speak this would refer to the marriage supper of the LAMB (when the crowns are handed out)).

What I found most shocking in the presentation was not the theology of it, or whether or not the rapture happened … all that was in the past. It was the time when God wipes all tears from our eyes - INDIVIDUALLY

In this presentation, Jesus presented each with their “own crown”… some didn’t get a crown, some crowns shone brighter than others… then the presenter mentioned the “currency of heaven”… it is not money, it is not works… it is not obedience, it is not law keeping,… it is… when this person that is getting their crown stands up… were you an instrument that actively worked with heavenly agencies to spread the “good news” … in that what you did or didn’t do was in honor or connection with Jesus. Each person was totally OK with their reward, and the rewards of others - anything that is not of faith is sin.

It was kinda like a pyramid sales convention… how many people did Jesus influence through your connection with him? So – you get credit in your “so called” crown… based on your connection with God’s Spirit and Jesus leading in your life. No more, no less… period. (Said a different way, if your step/action/interaction with a person was a “moment of faith” and dependence in God’s grace - it’s part of your character/crown

Then the answer I always asked… how could there be no jealousy in heaven? The answer… we see the character of the individual when they receive their crowns and there are 5 possible in scripture.
Each person that receives a crown is totally OK with the number of gems in it… because it uniquely represents them - you can’t really disagree with the true character of someone… Why would you want to? Especially since you are happy with your crown !!!

God wants our love for him because of who HE is. And He alone is worthy of our worship. The book of Revelation is a global book, it’s audience is the entire world, it sets the stage and describes the necessity of God’s holiness, It reminds us that God’s provisions for our tribulation, journey, and walk are sufficient.

The audience to which the book speaks is the remnant (Those in the world at the end that choose “true worship”), in context, not a specific sect (SDA or otherwise).

One of the key points of article above is “faith in Jesus”, it reads in context, due to the active state of the book.

"This translation affirms one thing, not two; it speaks of the constancy of God that was demonstrated in Jesus" Sigve K. Tonstad

I am still reviewing Revelation from this POV. and I really makes sense to me that the Book of Life has our names written IN IT… we choose to NOT choose God and He blots them out.

God’s pen does the writing… think about it…

with kind regards,

Gracevessel


(Phil van der Klift) #20

Once again, spot on Sigve.

I am finding that keeping the biggest context in mind when interpreting scripture is really helping. That context is the Great Controversy where, since the fall of Lucifer, two Kingdoms are on display for all to experientially witness and to select the one that resonates with their heart’s desire (eg Gen 6:5). While there are two Kingdoms to choose from for now, ultimately only one Kingdom is actually viable despite the self-promoted deception of the second which would deceitfully claim otherwise.

The Kingdom of God is founded on the law/principle (constant) of self-renouncing/beneficent love (Agape) and operates with total transparency (via revelation). Each person is free to decide whether they will embrace or reject membership to that Kingdom via embracing or rejecting the nature and character of that Kingdom. The inherent outcome of embracing the nature and character of this Kingdom is abundant zoe (Jn 10:10). It can be/do nothing else due to its inherent nature being the “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2).

The kingdom of darkness is founded on the principle of self-exaltating/seeking/gratifying/indulgent lust. This kingdom operates on deceit (that is deliberately designed to mislead via misrepresentation and misportrayal of the true nature and character of both kingdoms) and where that fails, coercion. The inherent outcome of this kingdom is steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10). It can be/do nothing else due to its inherent nature being “the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).