Archive for the ‘Heaven’ Category

The Depth of God’s Love

January 3, 2015

Satan before fall

We as finite human beings can image just  a sliver of the depth of God’s love. But when we take the time to dwell on it, we find it really baffles our mind. Let us look into this subject and hopefully gain another small sliver of its depth.

In 1 Corinthians 2:9, we read, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Our minds cannot truly envision the great things to come for those counted worthy to partake in eternity. We know that the streets shall be made up of gold, maybe similar as the below picture.

“And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”(Rev.21:21)

Gold street

In dwelling on this subject this week, I was guided to the subject of Satan. Why would Satan be connected to God’s great love? Let us look at this connection.

Ezekiel describes Satan’s beauty, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 

You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:13-15)

We see that God spared nothing in creating a most beautiful exalted creature. Satan was endowed with not only beauty but exceeding wisdom.

Ellen White describes more on Satan, “Lucifer in heaven, before his rebellion, was a high and exalted angel, next in honor to God’s dear Son. His countenance, like those of the other angels, was mild and expressive of happiness. His forehead was high and broad, showing a powerful intellect. His form was perfect; his bearing noble and majestic. A special light beamed in his countenance and shone around him brighter and more beautiful than around the other angels..” (The Story of Redemption, p.13)

So what connection is there? I believe the depth of God’s love is this– God made a being so beautiful, so powerful, so intelligent, that God was putting Himself on the line! By that I mean, He took a daring chance that He created a being  too beautiful, too powerful, too intelligent. God’s love went out on a  limb, because He envisioned a being that the heavenly host could admire and love as well. The generosity of His love truly was a marvel.

But, as well all know, God’s hope and dream was  not to be. Yet, what does this show us? That His love is truly deep and generous. Being God , He imparted those majestic qualities in Satan, along with Satan’s potentially dangerous freedom to exalt himself, which unfortunately he did.

In explaining what love truly is, apostle John, gives the straight answer, ” Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.(1 John 4:7-8)

So we see that  one of the greatest ingredients of God’s love is to make beings that have free choice, free will. But included in this great ingredient is God’s divine rules and regulations, in other words–structure.

Some of us remember the hippie days of the 60’s. The popular phrase was “Free Love”. They had these bumper stickers on the back of their vehicles, often the popular Volkswagen bus.But we remember that often their free love turned out to be disease, fighting, murder and general destruction in many cases.

One of the great misnomer  and false ideas is that of–unconditional love. There has never been nor never will be what is called unconditional love. All thinking and speaking beings are made to love, yet they always come with conditions. God for example cannot love in such a way to create a being that could destroy Him. Nor can He create a being and forever accept them, if they reject Him. He extends His love but His righteousness cannot disappear for the sake of “love”.

God has His supreme Law of the universe, called the 10 Commandments. One of His greatest acts of love for us, His human beings, is showing His great Law through His Son, our Lord, King and Savior–Jesus Christ.

Our King has clearly described in one place within the whole Bible that shows how we are to show we “love” Him.

“If you love Me, keep My Commandments.”(John 14:15)

Our prophetess speaks about His great love as our “first step”–

“The very first step in approaching God is to know and believe the love that He has for us; for it is through the drawing of His love that we are led to come to Him.” (M.B. p.155, 156)

When we really take the time to dwell upon how great and deep is His love, we cannot  help but come to the conclusion that we are so blessed, as to be awe-struck at who our God really is.

When we draw close to Him we start to envision more about Him. For instance I have found myself in tears just thinking about His long-suffering and patience, He has had for my worldly sinful ways. Decades of them!

In closing, as Human beings, we cannot fathom the depth of God’s love but we can use our finite minds to try to put together some pieces of its depth. Our most important duty right now is–obedience. In His great and merciful love He has sent His last message of hope and instruction. After this message reaches His beloved church within His allotted time, He can do no more.

Let us learn from Satan’s mistake. We can become obedient to His word as said through His Elijah prophet, if we humble ourselves. Satan’s downfall was his pride. God’s deep love reached out to him, but he would not. Will we submit and believe and obey His last message to us?

“.. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:13)

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The Revelation Seals (Part 1 of 2)

May 3, 2014

 

 

Seven Seals

 

(Click to enlarge)

 

Perhaps one of the most exciting and deep subjects in all the Bible is the Seven Seals of chapter 6 of Revelation. But God has been faithful and it’s now time to know what exactly they mean and the symbolism of it all.

Daniel was stumped and bewildered and inquired, “Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “my lord, what shall be the end of these things?” And he said, “go your way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan.12:8-9)

Here we see that end time visions were given to Daniel that could only be understood at “the time of the end”. In other words the revealing of chapter 11 and 12 was to be understood when the Lord unsealed its knowledge.

As we shall soon show, both Daniel and Revelation saw the very important judgment occurring in heaven. Now(today) is the time that we do indeed understand these things. This is part of the “restoring of all things” (truth for us today) as come through His Elijah prophet.

Let us now look at this subject.

To begin with we must look at the two preceding chapters 4 and 5. Let’s  point out specific important points therein.

A Door was opened (Rev. 4: 1)

One Sitting on the Throne (Rev. 4: 2)

A Rainbow Around The Throne (Rev. 4: 3)

24 Elders (Rev 4: 4)

Seven Lamps (Rev. 4: 5)

Sea of Glass (Rev 4:6)

Four Beasts (with four faces, six wings, and full of eyes) (Rev 4: 6-8)

The Lamb (with seven eyes and horns) (Rev. 5:6)

Thousands of Angels (Rev 5: 11,12)

The Book (Rev. 5:1)

 

What is all this describing? As the verse says, ” a door was opened”. The only place where this door could be, is the door to the most holy place– The Heavenly Sanctuary. (See Early Writings, p.42 and Great Controversy, p.429-430)

And further proof comes from the fact that “Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” shows the candlestick, a sanctuary fixture. So once we know “where” this scene takes place we can then ask “when” it takes place.

Since John was told of things to come “hereafter” , the only judgment known to us as SDA is–the investigative heavenly judgment beginning in 1844. So we are now in the great court where all those who “professed” Christ are to be judged. What a spectacle! So john beheld in vision the 1844 court being  opened.

Let us now look at the striking similarities of Daniel’s vision and John’s vision.

Daniel’s vision (chapter 7)                                     John’s vision (Rev.)  

a. “Thrones were cast down” (Dan 7:9)  

a. “And I saw thrones”  (Rev.20:4)

b.”The Ancient of Days did sit”(Dan.7: 9)

 b. “And One sat on the throne” (Rev.4:2)

c.”And a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him”(Dan 7:10)

c. “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire” Rev. 15:2.

d. “One like the Son of man came…to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.” (Dan 7:13)

d. “In the midst of the throne and of the four beasts…stood the Lamb.” (Rev. 5:6)

e. “The books were opened.” (Dan 7:10)

e. “And the books were opened.” (Rev. 20:12)

f. “Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” (Dan 7:10)

f. “I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” (Rev.5:11)

g. “The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Dan 7:10).

g. “And I saw the dead small and great stand Before God; and the books were opened…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books…” (Rev. 20:12)

 

As we can see they both saw the judgment scene, however the difference being that Daniel saw the judgment being set up while John saw it in full session. As his visions were the “revelations” it only makes sense that John be revealed more.

John describes the judgment in three parts, one before the “half-hour silence (Rev. 8:1), one after it, and a third one during the thousand years (Rev.20:11,12). We’ll go into this more in part 2.

Concerning the judgment we know there will be three phases:

First phase:  The investigative judgment  of the dead (GC p. 390, EW p.280)

Second phase: The investigative judgment of the living (same quotes above)

Third phase: The judgment of the wicked–sentencing (GC p. 480, EW p.52, 53)

The first two phases are during probationary time while Jesus is still the “bleeding Lamb”. It involves ONLY those who have entered the service of God (See GC p.380,381  Christ’s Object Lessons , p.310) And we as SDA well know the third phase takes place during the 1000 years.

But as we go further we’ll notice that the Seven Seals deal primarily with the investigative judgment.

Let us now focus on the symbols and their meaning

Door  —   The door to the Most Holy Place. (EW p. 42)

The One who sat —  The JUDGE-God the Father

Rainbow —  God’s faithfulness to His promises. (Gen. 9:12-15, COL. 148, ED. 178,  DA. 834)

24 Elders — JURY. They are from among those who ascended with Christ. (Matt. 27: 51-53; DA 785, 786; EW 184.)

7 Lamps of Fire (Candlestick) — Completeness of truth—the church throughout the all ages.

Seven spirits (Rev. 4:5) — Seven is complete—this shows that the Holy Spirit has been guiding the church from the very beginning by revealing light and truth.

Sea of Glass — Sea denotes expansive—endlessness. Clear as crystal denotes perfection. Together it represents eternal perfection—life eternal.

Four Beasts — The saints—The DEFENDANTS—those to be judged.(Rev. 5: 8,9)—only human beings have been redeemed. Note that the saints are not physically there yet represented there as beasts. (EW 54, 92)—like the beasts of Daniel and Revelation symbolizes nations.

The individual beasts as represent as-

Lion —  First period of the church before the ceremonial system.—Adam to Moses.

Calf  —  Period of the ceremonial system (Moses to Cross).

Man’s head — Cross to harvest period —144,000 & Great Multitude.

Eagle —  Period when the church is to be translated (144,000 & Great Multitude).

Full of eyes —  Eyes give light to the body, it provides sight. Thus it shows that God’s people had sufficient light in every age.

Eyes before and  —  Prophetic light-past, present and future.

behind Six Wings — Wings represent periods of time. Thus the six wings represent the sixth period of the judgment when the judgment begins.

Lamb —  Jesus—ADVOCATE—LAWYER—as a priest—a lamb bleeding, “as it had been slain.

Seven horns—Seven eyes —Seven spirits of God–  These symbols indicates that Jesus has complete power. (Matt. 28:18) Complete vision-knowledge ( Ps. 139:12 God’s Spirit at work in all ages. John 14:26.)

Many Angels —  The WITNESSES-Angels record and testify to all events. (GC 482,483.)

The Book —  The BOOK OF LIFE—the book that decides every man’s destiny.( Rev. 13:8, 20:12, 21:27, 22:19; EX 32:33; COL 294; GC 483. )The Book of Life is the only book that is specifically claimed for Christ. Christ alone opens the Book with seven seals. Thus they must be one and the same.

Next week we’ll look at the individual seals in chapter 6., stay tuned as  it’s quite enlightening. For instance, what is the meaning of the different colored horses? What is the meaning of “take peace from the earth”? What is the meaning of the “1/2 silence in heaven”? What time span does each seal represent?

Stay tuned as  it’s quite enlightening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Heavenly Place For You

December 1, 2012

Some of us have made  big sacrifices  in our lives, we have greatly diminished our television watching or cut it out altogether, shunned worldly music listening, eliminated our prior daily cherished carnal sins, and just plain overcome the many snares, with the power of the Holy Spirit. But sometimes we get the urge to once again return to the “vomit”. “As a dog returnth to it’s vomit, so a fool returnth to his folly (Proverbs 26:11). But let’s keep a cheerful heart and remain steadfast in our walk for “great” is our reward(Matt.5:12).

Our Lord says in (John 14:2) ” In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” It is quite fitting that for the much of  His time spent on this earth, our Lord was a creator and builder(carpenter). We can only imagine the people in awe and wonderment as they beheld the fine craftsmanship that He showed in His work. His careful eye measuring exactly on each detail.

With no less perfection we can trust that He has built for each of us,  a place that will fit us in comfort and style and bliss. I mean even the street  will be breath-taking, as we step upon it, seeing gold as shiny as glass. “The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass” (Rev 21:21).Then how about those gorgeous ripe fruits! One bite and we will melt in joy and refreshment. And drinking the pure life-giving water!

 Before I became a Sabbath keeper, I  had seldom noticed the real beauty of His work. I mean the colorful flowers didn’t stand out to me, the clouds formed were not meaningful, the hummingbird or butterfly was a mere curiosity.  Instead there is now a  loving appreciation or even an understanding of a direct sign given from Him. In short His creation is now indeed –alive.

As I become more and more aware of where I am heading to, it makes me think of the following logic. While on this earth for such a short time , can we truly comprehend that a life here of pleasures and sin, is an equal and balanced trade-off against an eternal bliss with our Lord? Is a moment in time worth throwing away an everlasting  joyful and exciting existence , full of life and beauty? Ponder this carefully, think of the rewards and your future place in heaven. A never  ending existence with One who will forever be our joy.

But let us not deceive ourselves, our Lord has sent His last message to us that requires us to obey Him and follow His last instructions. He is throwing us His life jacket (His Elijah message), will we grab it and hold on? To sum it up, our life must be in compliance with daily obedience of His 10 Commandments, and we must sigh and cry for the abominations we see in our life and that of the church (Ezekiel 9). This is all backed up by Ellen White as well (Testimonies for the Church, Vol 3, p266-267).We must hear His messenger (Elijah) and follow His message sent through Him. As I have said many times, I for one, will not ignore His last messenger, will you?

 We will and do slip occasionally but as Scripture says “A righteous man falls seven times, he rises again..” (Proverbs 24:16). The key is to never stay down, but get up, continue on the straight and narrow.

We are told in (Ezekiel 18:32 ) “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! ”  We have a Lord who loves us greatly and wants us to “come home”, the real home built by Him. Let us determine to do what is required of us and then there will soon come a time when the Lord’s words will be fulfilled  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come you who are blessed of My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matt.5:34).

In order to gain this great paradise, we are counselled to “lose” our earthly carnal life . “For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses His life for Me and the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).

In closing, once we truly convert and become born again, all things become new(2 Cor. 5:17). We see sin for what it is –a terrible separation from our Lord. We can overcome only when we trust in His word and His/our Helper, the Holy Spirit.

Though you may sacrifice now, may you dwell on what will soon be ” A  Heavenly Place For You”.

Ellen White’s Battle Creek Vision

May 12, 2012

This week in the studies I came across a fascinating EGW description of her Battle Creek vision in August of 1868.  It tells of their hard struggles on their journey to the promised land.  I believe God gave it for us, to let us know that our journey will indeed require a “full” effort. If we try to get there “kind of” trying we stand a real chance of falling off down the “precipice”. 

“While at battle Creek in August, 1868, I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey. We had heavily loaded wagons. As we journeyed, the road seemed to ascend.  On one side of this road was a deep precipice; on the other was a high smooth, white wall, like the hard finish upon plastered rooms.

As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper. In some places it seemed so very narrow that we concluded that we could no longer travel with the loaded  wagons. We then loosed them from the horses, took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback.

As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. We were obliged to press close to the wall, to save ourselves from falling off the narrow road down the steep precipice. As we did this, the luggage on the horses pressed against the wall, and cause us to sway toward the precipice. We feared that we should fall, and be dashed in pieces on the rocks. we then cut the luggage from the horses, and it fell over the precipice. We continued on horseback, greatly fearing, as we came to narrower places in the road, that we should lose our balance, and fall. At such times, a hand seemed to take the bridle, and guide us over the perilous way.

As the path grew more narrow, we decided that we could no longer go safely on horseback, and we left the horses and went on foot, in single file, one following in the foot steps of another. At this point small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall; these were eagerly grasped, to aid us in keeping our balance upon the path. As we traveled, the cord moved along with us.

The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes; so we slipped them from our feet, and went on some distance without them. Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; those were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.

We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change, some left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end.

Our danger of falling from the pathway increased. We pressed close to the white wall, yet could not place our feet fully upon the path. for it was too narrow. We then suspended nearly our whole weight upon the cords, exclaiming, “we have to hold from above! We have to hold from above!” The same words were uttered by all the company in the narrow pathway.

As we heard the sounds of mirth and revelry that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war song and the dance song. We heard instrumental music, and loud laughter, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway. Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords, which increased in size as we progressed.

I noticed that the beautiful white wall was stained with blood, it caused a feeling of regret to see the wall thus stained. This feeling, however, lasted but for a moment, as I soon thought that it was all as it should be. Those who  are following after will know that others have passed the narrow, difficult way before them, and will conclude that if others were able to pursue their onward course, they can do the same. And as the blood shall be pressed from their aching feet, they will not faint with discouragement; but ,seeing the blood upon the wall, they will know that others have endured the same pain.

At length we came to a large chasm, at which our path ended. There was nothing now to guide our feet, nothing upon which to rest them. Our whole reliance must be upon the cords, which had increased in size, until they were as large as our bodies. Here we were for a time thrown into perplexity and distress. We inquired in fearful whispers, ‘To what is the cord attached?’ My husband was just before me. large drops of sweat were falling from his brow, the veins in his neck and temples were increased to double their size, and suppressed, agonizing groans came from his lips. The sweat was dropping from my face, and I felt such anguish as I had never felt before. A fearful struggle was before us. Should we fail here, all the difficulties of our journey had been experienced for naught.

Before us, on the other side of the chasm, was a beautiful field of green  grass, about six inches high. I could not see the sun, but bright, soft beams of light, resembling fine gold and silver, were resting upon the field. Nothing I had  seen upon earth could compare in beauty and glory with this field. But  could we succeed in reaching it? was the anxious inquiry. Should the cord break, we must perish.

 Again, in whispered anguish, the word were breathed ‘What holds the cord?”  For a moment we hesitated to venture. Then we exclaimed, ‘Our only hope is to trust wholly in the cord. It has been our dependence all the difficult way. It will not fail us now.’ Still we were hesitating and distressed. The words were then spoken, ‘God holds the cord. We need not fear.’ These words were then repeated by those behind us, accompanied with, ‘ He will not fail us now. He has brought us thus far in safety.’

My husband then swung himself over the fearful abyss into the beautiful field beyond. I immediately followed. And oh, what a sense of relief and gratitude to God we felt! I heard voices raised in triumphant praise to God. I was happy perfectly happy.

I awoke, and found that from the anxiety I had experienced in passing over the difficult route, every nerve in my body seemed to be in a tremor. This dream need no comment. it made such an impression upon my mind that probably every item in it will be vivid before me while my memory shall continue.”  (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p.594-597)

 As we can clearly see, even though our walk will not be easy many times, once we submit fully to Him, it will be well worth it, He’ll be right there with us. And as we go further into our journey our faith will be tried, to see if we can “toss away” the worldly pleasures and stay focused,  holding onto our Lord , the “cord”.

“But Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of chracter is an easy matter. A noble all-around character is not inherited, it does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merit and grace of Christ”(Christ Object Lessons, p.331)

Heaven Bound

August 13, 2011

Many times in our daily walk, we lose track of where we are heading. We get discouraged, frustrated. People we wanted to help show the light of truth, can’t see it, ignore it or argue against it.  We throw up our hands and say “where am I going with all this?” Thankfully God has told us , it’s  heaven bound!  Let’s look at what heaven will be like.

In (John 14:2-4) our Lord tells us where He’s going and what He’ll do. ” In My Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so , I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going”

We can see that we will have our own dwelling place, a home as it were. It will no doubt be beautiful and luxurious. Think of the most gorgeous mansion in the earth today. It could very well make it look like a “dungeon”.

I have had two different dreams in my life that can be interpreted as pertaining to heaven. The last one  (about a year ago) I was walking around heaven and I was feeling so excited and bliss, I turned to ask (don’t remember who) ” You mean we get to experience this everyday?”  The other was one I had as a kid (at least 3 or 4 times) in it I could fly. I was astonished at this, utterly amazed this was possible . Was God letting me know I could experience blissful things in heaven with these dreams? Yes, I believe He was.

We are told a most clear and beautiful picture of heaven in (Rev 21:10 to 22:5) The lighting, the gates, the gold streets, so much beauty–this is our home! We walk up and down pure gold streets like glass. Everything is first class built by that most excellent carpenter- our Lord! Day after day, these blissful surroundings are ours to behold. This is our reward for those painful agonizing days of  discouragement and trials.

But it does cost something, it’s NOT free. It cost’s a pure heart sold out to Jesus, willing to obey His Holy Commandments (and not just some of them). Infact after we are painted this most beautiful picture of our future home Apostle John is guided by our Lord ONE LAST TIME, to tell everyone the cost–(Rev. 22:14) “Blessed are they who DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have the right, to the tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the city”.

Let us always remember where we are headed. Paul explained it when he said (Col. 3:1-3) “…set your hearts on the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things. for you died and your life is now hidden with  Christ in God.”

Our life is but a mist in the eternalness of time, is it really worth it to get all these earthly pleasures, and then to sacrifice all the eternal bliss of everlasting heaven?  No my friends, it’s such an easy decision to make when you start dwelling on where you’re going!   In Christ’s love, Rob


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