The necessity of studying the Bible.
Clinging to Christ.
We are just before the greatest tribulation, a tribulation the likes of which the inhabitants of the earth have never seen, and soon the powers of hell will be unleashed, and what will now happen will reveal what faith the individual man has. This will be a difficult time for all God’s people, and those who have not clung to their Saviour will fall away.
Ellen G. White says in Early Writings, 46.2, the following: We must have on the whole armour of God and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. This also applied to those who went before us, but this has a special approach to us in the very last time. It is now that Satan will initiate the worst persecutions ever to cause the group he hates more than any other group to fall from the pure faith in Jesus Christ.
God’s faithful people in the end times is the third Elijah (see English; the third Elijah), and in order to preach the message in the same way as John the Baptist, the second Elijah, and the prophet Elijah, we must have a spiritual experience such as these two had. We must focus on God, and ‘lose ourselves’. We must live God so closely that it transforms our character, and then we will be given power and strength from heaven, and Ellen G. White says that we must live a twofold life—a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work, (LDE 63.2 – The Ministry of Healing, 512 (1905)).
It is as certain as day follows night that the storm will come upon us. The prophet Ezekiel describes this storm in this way: And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou [art] the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. [There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed [difference] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof [are] like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, [and] to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untampered [mortar], seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore, have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD, Ezekiel 22:23-31.
If we try to understand the text here, we see that this is a crushing criticism of the false denominations in the end times. It cannot be God’s faithful people who are characterized like this, for it truly says that [There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls and that they have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. In the end, God does not find a single righteous man in the fallen denominations, and then comes the final judgment on this suffering earth. But before the final judgment falls upon the earth, before our dear Saviour Jesus Christ returns to deliver His people, God’s people will live in the midst of this storm. We feel that it has already begun to blow; it is not a light breeze or a slight gale, but a small storm with a strong gale in the gusts, to use such an expression.
Peter addresses God’s people, and brings encouragement to those who humble themselves before God. Like Ezekiel, Peter uses the same expression a roaring lion to describe our enemy.
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you], 1 Peter 5:5-10.
In order to be able to cling to Christ, it is necessary that we make the preparations we can make together with the Holy Spirit. Peter says it like this: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:13. Here Peter uses an image that was known to his contemporaries. Gird up their loins was something they did with the robe/cloak they used daily. A soldier’s cloak had to be gird up around his loins to keep it out of the way during battle. A worker’s robe/cloak had to be gird up in the same way so as not to hinder the work.
There is only one textbook – the Bible, and only one teacher – the Holy Spirit. God has given us this so that we can prepare in the best way before the storm arrives in full. We must set aside time daily for prayer and Bible study, and then the Holy Spirit will open our eyes and guide us to the truth so that we do not become an easy victim for the roaring lion. It is only through meticulous Bible studies we can put on the full armour of God, which Paul talks about in Ephesians chapter 6. It is only when we have put on the whole armour of God that we can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11), and that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand, (Ephesians 6:13).
We must also gird up what may prevent us from carrying out the mission we have been entrusted with. We must remove all that can disturb us in our daily search for God’s truths. We cannot let anything stand in the way of carrying out the important work God has entrusted to us, be it family, friends, house, cabin, car or whatever we value in life. What Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13 about being sober refers precisely to the fact that those who are not sober lose their senses in whole or in part, and are unable to make the right decisions. It is only when we are sober in the double sense of the word, and only then, when we do not let anything come between us and our God we can say that we cling to Christ. To enable ourselves to do this, we should memorize scripture. Then we always have it available.
To memorize scripture.
Whoever is sincere in his faith should read and study the Bible every single day so that he can begin to memorize verses, paragraphs and parts of the Bible. Even today, the world is shrouded in Satan’s darkness. Then it is good to know this one little verse in Psalm 119,105: Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. If we remember this verse, God’s word will be a lamp that illuminates the way we walk, and that will show us all the traps Satan and his minions have laid to catch God’s faithful remnant.
We also need wisdom to be able to find the right path, and the wise King Solomon said it this way: The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding, Proverbs 9:10. If we fear the Lord, He will give us wisdom, but this verse raises a couple of questions. What does it mean to fear God, is it to be afraid of God? Can the fear of God give us wisdom? The answer is that we should show God honour and respect Him, or show Him respect and awe, and we should refer to God in a respectful, humble and reverential way. If we live according to these principles, God will give us wisdom.
It is important to memorize the Bible, because when the time comes, the Bible will again be a book that is difficult to find, and those who have Bibles will be deprived of them. By memorizing parts or all of the Bible, we will build a strong brick wall around us in defence against Satan’s deceptions. When he comes to tempt us, he does not present himself as the devil, but he comes as an angel of light and will wrap his deception in the most beautiful package you can imagine. (See also Babel Babylon, Part 4; End Times, Antichrist in the temple of God. Part 2). If you are grounded in God’s word, if you have this defence around you, you will be able to face the temptations with a «Thus saith the Lord» like Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness.
Ellen G. White says the following about this: The time will come when many will be deprived of the written Word. But if this Word is printed in the memory, no one can take it from us, (Last days Events 67.5) … and study the Word of God. Commit its precious promises to memory so that, when we shall be deprived of our Bibles, we may still be in possession of the Word of God, (Last days Events 67.6).
Those who are not grounded in the Bible will follow what itches in the ear, and then they are lost, because our enemy knows what buttons to push to sound alluring. Only those who have been given a solid platform to stand on will be preserved against false teachings in the end times. Only those who have strengthened their minds with the truths of the Bible will survive when Satan deploys his last great deceptions. Only the Bible and the Bible alone can help us to stand against the deception that is coming. Ellen G. White said this: Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine, (Last days Events 66.5).
Revelation 14, an anchor for God’s people.
Revelation chapter 14 tells us about a people that God has raised up and prepared for the great event of the end times. This is a people who will fearlessly preach God’s last warning, and a message that goes against what all other denominations preach. The message of the end times is to preach separation: ‘Come out of her, my people’, while the rest of the Christian, religious and secular world cries out: come together, and unite yourselves!
God’s end-time church in Revelation 14.
The description of Gods church in the end times, and the people who make up this church.
Verse 1: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
Here John sees the 144,000 who are God’s remnant in the end times standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. These 144,000 are those who in chapter 7 are called 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel. In chapter 7, it is said that this group will be sealed with the seal of the living God. 144,000 is a figurative number, not a literal number. That it is stated the way it does is because there is a group of people who are living in the last time and who are being sealed. Therefore, an exact number is not given (see also English; The End Times Begins; The 144,000 of all the tribes of the children Israel). When John sees them now, they are sealed.
Verse 2:And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
Verse 3: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
What is special here is that they are singing a new song, which no one but them could learn. What is the reason why John chooses to write it this way? Cannot everyone learn the same songs? Apparently not. If we go to Exodus 15, we find two songs. First, Moses and the children of Israel sing a song to the Lord after the Lord had freed them from the violence of the Egyptians, and saved them through the Red Sea, (verses 1-19). Then in verses 20 and 21, it is told that Miriam and all the women sang and danced before the Lord because He had delivered them. The reason they sang was that they had had a special experience that no one else had, and that God had delivered them. Here in Revelation 14:3, the 144,000 sing a new song before the throne, and the reason is that they have gone through the worst trials that man has ever done, and they have been delivered by being sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. They have thus had an experience that no one else in history has had, as was the case with Israel at the Red Sea.
Verse 4: These are they, which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they, which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The fact that this group is described as not defiled with women does not mean that they have never sinned. But, they have actively chosen to follow the Saviour where He has led them. Becoming defiled with women must be understood correctly. Woman in the Bible is a picture of the congregation or church. To defile oneself with a woman is to embrace the teachings of the fallen church. These were taken alive to heaven at Jesus’ return. Paul explains it like this in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we, which are alive [and] remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The prophet Elijah is a type of this group. The Seventh-day Adventists are then also the antitype of Elijah, and are called the third Elijah. John the Baptist is called the second Elijah, (see also English; The third Elijah).
Verse 5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Through all the tribulations and persecutions of the end times, they managed to cling to God. They were not willing to make the slightest compromise to save their lives. They were willing to die for the word of God.
It is a wonderful account of a group of people who live in a time when the whole world is against them and only wants to make them give up their faith, possibly kill them. What a memorial has been given them!
The anchor of God’s people. The three angels’ message, Revelation 14:6-11.
The first angel’s message.
Verse 6: And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
What is the everlasting gospel? It is the good news of salvation from sin that was first made known to Adam and Eve when they had sinned against God, and that Christ would come and crush Satan’s power (see Genesis 3:14-15). Whom is the angel flying in the middle of heaven? According to the Bible, it is we, the people, who are to preach the eternal gospel. It means that this angel is God’s faithful people. The Greek word for angel, a’nggelos means messenger, courier and angel, and is used for what we usually associate with angels, for the leaders of the congregation. (See Revelation 1:20; 2:1; 2:8; 2:12; 2:18; 3:1; 3:7 and 3:14), about messengers who brought messages to e.g. King Saul (1 Samuel 23:27), about prophets (see Haggai 1:13) and about Jesus (see Exodus 14:19). When it says every nation, kindred, and tongue, and people, it means that this is a universal event. Everyone should hear the eternal gospel.
Verse 7: Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Once again, we come across the word «fear«, and again it means that we should show God honour and respect Him and show Him respect and awe. Here we are also given the reason why we should fear God. It is because the hour of God’s judgment is come. Yes, God will judge the world, but first through an investigative judgment, and it started when we entered the end times. We must also worship God because He is the Creator of all that exists. If we worship God because He created, we also show fear, or reverence, for Him.
The second angel’s message.
Verse 8: And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
We have dealt with Babylon many times, and this name is given to the fallen Catholic Church. She has led the rebellion against God here on earth since the papacy usurped power in Rome when the emperor had moved to Constantinople. Since the papacy was established, as we know it today, the church has introduced many more pagan traditions into the church than those that came in through Constantine’s ‘conversion’. The church has introduced many unbiblical ordinances, such as to proclaim Mary, the mother of Jesus, as queen of heaven and co-saviour, (see also The eternal conflict; The battle for the Bible, part 1). Where in the Bible do we find evidence for such dogmas? Such unbiblical dogmas are implicit in the expression the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Babylon has fallen, but the fall is still not complete, we can read that in Revelation 18:5 where it says that her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. When we get so far in history that her sins reach all the way up to heaven comes the final settlement with Babylon, or the fallen church and her daughters.
The third angel’s message.
Verse 9: And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Verse 10: The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Verse 11: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The third angel tells us of a choice that all men will make once in the near future, and the punishment that awaits those who remain in Babylon. First to the choice we have to make. Here in the third angel’s message the mark of the beast is mentioned. What the mark of the beast is, is not clear from the text, we then have to do some detective work to find out what it is. The Bible says nothing about what the mark of the beast is, and therefore there are countless opinions about what the mark of the beast is. This is constantly changing as technology advances, and the bankcard, microchips and the bar code are some of the options that have been launched over the last 50-60 years. Many people are afraid to be vaccinated because they think that in that way they will have a microchip injected into their body, and they think that they have then taken the mark of the beast. An older option is that anyone who takes the sign of the beast will have the number 666 stamped or tattooed on their hand or forehead. What all these alternatives have in common is that none of them is based on the Bible.
It does not say what the mark of the beast is in the Bible and this is what creates fertile ground for all the imaginative variants of the mark of the beast, but we read in the Bible that God has a mark. When God has a sign or mark, then Satan cannot be any worse. He imitates God’s mark, and this imitation of a mark he has given to his agents to launch in the world, (see Norwegian; The end times begins; Revelation 13. The image of the beast). The mark of the beast is the false Sabbath day – Sunday – which the papacy will introduce through its closest ally, the United States. The false Sabbath will be imposed on people in one way or another, and everyone must decide whether they will accept the mark of the beast or whether they will be faithful to God and keep God’s Sabbath holy, and call God’s Holy Day honourable. No one can say they are indifferent when we come to this choice, because either you choose to keep the mark of God, which is God’s Sabbath – our Saturday, or you take the mark of the beast. There is no third option.
That the mark of the beast is received on 1) the forehead or on 2) the hand. This means that those who take the mark on 1) the forehead have full knowledge of God’s Sabbath but choose for convenience reasons not to keep God’s Sabbath, but gladly take the mark of the beast. Those who take the mark on 2) the hand practices its profession on God’s Sabbath – Saturday, despite the fact that they know it is against God’s law. It further states that those who take the mark of the beast will be judged in the same way as the beast itself
This is the message God’s end-time people will preach, and they will preach it in a fearless way. They fear neither princes nor prelates, but stand securely anchored on the word of the Eternal God. There is nothing that can shake them, or make them turn against their God. In their hearts lives the Saviour and the certainty that Jesus will help them through the trials is their guarantee, and the only thing that matters to them. The world can do as it pleases, but the message must be preached, whatever the cost.
A final description of God’s faithful remnant, Revelation 14:12-13.
Verse 12: Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The patience of the Saints. The Greek word G5281 hypomoné’, which is translated patience in Revelation 14:12 also means endurance, patience and steadfastness … and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance writes that it is derived from G5278 hupomenô, and in this word it is found that the saints must figuratively speaking; undergo – endure – endure – suffer, in short God’s people must be steadfast and persevering. They will hold fast to God’s word and keep watch over God’s commandments regardless of what is happening around them in the world. It is the small remnant of saints in the end times that is referred to in this verse. These constitute the pure church in the end times. When we see what the Greek word for «holding on» can be translated into English, we see that it is not enough to keep God’s commandments, we must keep watch over the commandments, preserve them, and hold them up. And especially then the fourth commandment which will be especially exposed to the wrath of the world as this commandment contains God’s seal, and is God’s mark with which He will finally seal His faithful ones. The Sabbath will be our mark of loyalty in the time ahead.
This verse points directly to Revelation 12:17, which says. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (see Revelation 19:10). This little remnant of God in the end times has been equipped with the spirit of prophecy.
Verse 13: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead, which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
This verse tells us something in retrospect. Those who are here called blessed because they die in the Lord are those who die before the sealing takes place. After the sealing, all who are sealed will live until the return of Jesus.
The return of Jesus in Revelation 14.
In the last verses of Revelation 14, we see the return of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the deliverance of the living faithful, verses 14-16. In verse 14, we see one like unto the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. This is an expression we have in several places in the Bible in connection with Jesus. In Daniel 7:13, in Matthew 24:30 and 26:64, in Mark 13:26 and 14:62, in Luke 21:27, and in Revelation 1:7 in addition to 14:14. Verses 17-20 stand in sharp contrast to verses 14-16. Here it is the final settlement with sin that is described.
Finally, this chapter is an encouraging chapter for God’s faithful. They know that God is victorious and that He will take care of His people, deliver them from their enemies, and bring them home to heaven. This is our hope and future.