Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"By My Spirit" - by Allison Barnard

Truth is always timely for it is eternal. The Word of God is inseparable from the identity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Search for the words of truth, for in them you will find Jesus Christ. Please enjoy this excellent article by Bro. Allison F. Barnard (c.a. 1940).

“Nations prepare for war and fight for the attainment of certain desired ends or for the protection of their own territory. Political parties organize, plan and contend for their right to remain in power or to gain power and office. Labor contingents, likewise, organize, work for members, plan, fight and contend for their supposed rights and privileges over others.

In the religious world groups also work for larger membership, organize, lay plans, contend for and fight each other for the achievement of some supposed gain, the promotion of some project, the continuance of certain doctrines or the proposition of new or diversive doctrines or an idea or scheme of some kind or another – to remain in or to get in power. This is the history of all religious movements. Each of them originated and organized for some similar purpose, then a group within a group world arise and work to gain followers whom they might influence to further their supposed interest, contending with other groups until enmity entered in and prevailed, group against group, leaders against leaders, men and brethren against men and brethren. What a sad spectacle the professed church of God has presented to a lost world! And yet the strife continues unabated.

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6).

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4,5).

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Prov. 16:7).

There is no question in the world, but that in the majority of instances the doing of these things [described above] was done in real sincerity and good intentions: but sincerity of purpose is not always, necessarily, of the Lord.

Human movements, institutions, and organizations have never worked along the lines of God’s intended plan. Israel of old failed in this respect and went down in defeat; they were forsaken of God. They chose the ways of man – wanted to be like the nations around about. The Lord gave them their desire but forsook them and left them to their own undoing. Presumptuous leaders in the church of the morning arose, drew many men after themselves, setting up organization after organization until the dark night of apostasy settled down upon a world lost in its morass of ignorance, superstition and sin, covering the pages of history with the darkest account of sinful indulgence and murder ever written – and all because of the lust for human power and authority to exercise dominion over men and be like the nations around about. Informed people know this to be the case.

Regardless of the light and truth revealed to the men whom the Lord God of heaven and earth had chosen during the great reformation period of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – even a casual glance over the pages of the history of those days reveals a most sinister and baneful influence to be at work to undermine the power and glory of the outworking of that divine revelation in the church of those days.

For some reason, those receiving that revelation of truth, bright as it seemed to be, failed to perceive that one fundamental truth, so clearly taught in the living Word, that “the government shall be upon His shoulder.” (Isaiah 9:6.). The rule of man had become so dominant they did not know how to avoid it. No sooner did the church realize her emancipation from the apostate mother – gain its new breath, so to speak – than it gave itself over to human dictation, state government domination and regulation. It became a great state church –governed by the state which directed all its internal affairs – the Holy Ghost was ruled out and man-rule was substituted.

Branch churches refusing submission to this rule and refusing certain other practices, formed other church organizations with regulations other than those sanctioned by the Word – and differing from it – elected their own officers and officials who governed instead of the Holy ghost – whose place it was to govern. The office, power and authority of the Holy Ghost in the church of those days were usurped by man, unconsciously and unintentionally, perhaps, yet none the less real and certain.

The history of the succeeding decades and centuries continued the practice, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the Scriptures that they made an image to the former power, the first apostate church – and the church has continued thus to this present day – factions splitting off from the older groups, forming new bodies of so-called Christians, each group thinking to reform the church. Whereas, while some new truth may have been emphasized and a partial reformation of life has taken place, yet the same spirit of division and consequent man-rule prevailed and more images to the first apostate body formed. Because of this practice the Spirit of the Lord – “My Spirit” – could not work and the “might and power” of human reason prevailed rather than the power of the Spirit of the Lord God.

It is likewise a fact that each and every re-reformed divisional group, in a very short time has in like manner apostatized, as did its first predecessor. This condition is also universal – without exception, and is acknowledged to be true even in the movement with which we ourselves have long been connected – the Church of God Reformation Movement. This has been admitted in its own literature and by its own ministers time and again and is a well known fact. We do not say this to condemn or to be bitter or critical or anything of that kind; we wish it were not so. We have for years done all we have known to do, first avoiding the thing and then trying to remedy it, but the powers that have let it down still persist and continue – just as in all like institutions before it.

In every one of these movements men have arisen in an effort to reform the thing once born of reformation, in an effort to bring it back to its former plane of life. This too, has been done without exception, but, in no instance has there been a single one of these movements, institutions or churches – call them by what name we may – that has been re-reformed – not one. Each and every reformation that has taken place in the religious world has taken place without – OUTSIDE – the movement seeking to be reformed.

P.S. by Jim Storts:
With much pain and great difficulty must men separate themselves from that which is erroneous to stand for that which is right. Those who left the Roman Catholic Church of God were called disgruntles and heretics. Those who have ever separated themselves from any Church of God movement which has wandered from the truth and the headship of Christ have been called disgruntles and heretics. When men and women who profess to be saints begin to bite and devour one another, it is time to separate yourself from that group, lest you be spoiled and perish with them. It is a very emotional and spiritual hardship to separate from those whom you love and desire to bless. “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Again the word of God prepares us for these severe times of testing our affections for God and our affections for the things of this world. “And a man’s foes, shall be they of his own household.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Part Four - The Third Earthquake

What can be said about the Third Earthquake? Pastors and ministers have preached about the Third Earthquake. Some have stated that they believe that it has already happened in the decade of the 1960’s and 1970’s. If it has happened already, then we ought to be able to recognize in the events and affairs of the church the occurrences of those things which are prophetically written about it in the book of The Revelation.

In Revelation 10:7 we find these words, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” The divine revelation, the un-sealing of the Seventh Seal, the understanding of this symbolic message will not happen until the Seventh Angel begins to sound. When does the Seventh Angel begin to sound? John wrote in Revelation 8:1, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” It has been commonly believed among many ministers that the Sixth Seal ended and the Seventh Seal began in/about the year 1930.

A parallel may be drawn between the two captivities of the literal Jews and the two apostasies of the spiritual Jews (i.e. the church of God). The first, being the long and abusive captivity in Egypt for 430 years; and secondly, the short but destructive captivity in Babylon for 70 years. Comparatively, the Christians suffered a long siege by the Roman Catholic Church wherein millions were martyred for Christ for 42 months (42X30=1260 years – which corresponds to - 270 A.D. to 1530 A.D.) Additionally, they suffered at the hands of an apostasy for a much shorter period of time, beginning in 1930 (might this one-half hour be 70 years?)..

In this first verse of chapter eight, we are told that the silence lasted for the space of half an hour. The Bible does not give us a clear understanding of the time duration of "one hour" or "half an hour". We are to understand it as simply an indefinite short space of time; or, it may be understood to represent one-half of the time spoken of as the hour of judgment which shall come upon Babylon in the Sixth and Seventh Seal. See the scriptures in Revelation 18:10,17 and 19. If the "half an hour" in Revelation 8:1 is equal to one-half of the hour mentioned in Revelation chapter 18, then the silence mentioned in 8:1 would be equal to one-half the length of time included in the period 1880 to the second coming of Christ. The Sixth and Seventh Seals represent the hour of judgment upon Babylon in which two cups of God's judgment is poured out upon her sins. (Revelation 18:4-10). Considering the chronological place in time which we currently occupy, this one-half hour must logically be longer than 30 years. Neither the Holy Spirit nor the records of recent church events convince me that the “silence” lasted only about thirty years as some suppose. Additionally, there has been no event or series of events which fit the description of “a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”

Revelation 11:15-19 [Third Earthquake]
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

In the Seventh Seal earthquake these characteristics were manifested:1.) the temple of God was opened in heaven the ark of His testament was revealed again; 2.) voices; 3.) thunders; 4.) lightnings; 5.) great earthquake; 6.) great hail

Revelation 16:17-21 [Third Earthquake]
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

In the Seventh Seal earthquake these characteristics were manifested: 1.) voices; 2.) thunders; 3.) lightnings; 4.) great earthquake; 5.) islands fled away and mountains were not found; 6.) the great city was divided into three parts, Babylon (false religion) was judged and the vials were poured out

We know from the counsel of God’s Holy Word that it is the will of God to make known His works to His ministry. Proverbs 1:23, “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Genesis 18:17-19, “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Therefore, we have been instructed to understand the manner in which God works among His people. Yet, it remains in the power of God and to the discretion of God to choose the time and place and people with whom He reveals His plan and His purposes. No man has ever been, nor will he ever be, able to ascend into heaven and bring down to mankind the keys to the mysteries which God has hidden and will reveal in His due season.

As we continue faithful and obedient in our godly assignments for this life, God will reveal His secrets in the fullness of time. Let us labor faithfully and be worthy of His trust to receive His precious words. Remembering always that our greatest objective is to obey God and keep His commandments. If we are ensnared with an extreme desire for the acquisition of knowledge and the need to be the one most knowledgeable, we will fail to please and glorify our God.

If any person who reads these blogs would desire to have a complete copy of my commentary on The Revelation and my Study Notes which gives definitions of symbols and topical scripture references, please send your email address to me at jim_storts@yahoo.com and I will email you attachments containing these works. May the Holy Spirit bless and guide you into all knowledge and wisdom.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Part Three - The Second Earthquake

Revelation 6:12-17 [Second Earthquake]
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

In Revelation chapter six, we find the negative effects of the Second Earthquake. In Revelation chapter eleven, we find the positive effects of the Second Earthquake. In the Sixth Seal earthquake these negative characteristics were manifested: 1.) the sun became black, 2.) the moon became as blood, 3.) many stars of heaven fell to the earth, 4.) the heaven departed as a scroll, 5.) mountains and islands were moved, 6.) leaders hid themselves from the face of Jesus Christ, 7.) God’s wrath went forth.

The interpretation of these symbolic and descriptive events is:
1.) The New Testament (sun) became black as night instead of light as day to those Protestant religious people whom had resisted the call of God for 350 years (1530-1880). The Spirit of God will not always strive with men. There comes a time when you forsake God, He will forsake you.
2.) The Old Testament (moon) became as blood, i.e. the people became guilty of refusing the testimony of the Old Testament prophets who foretold of the coming of Christ, His kingdom and His requirements of holiness.
3.) The Stars of heaven fell to the earth, i.e. the Ministers and Pastors who were not obedient to the message of holiness fell into the hands of men. They became worldly and tickled the ears of their congregation members.
4.) The heaven departed as a scroll, i.e. the gospel book was closed for many people who rejected the gospel of holiness. When a scroll is rolled up, its message is no longer accessible.
5.) The mountains and islands were moved, i.e. the religious institutions of men fell away from their Christian moorings. A mountain represents a place of worship. An island is a portion of land which is separated from the mainland, which is analogous to isolated religious groups who are disconnected from the fellowship of the body.
6.) Kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, etc. hide in dens and in the rocks of the mountains. These symbolize the attempts of religious leaders and false prophets who try to hide in their religious institutions and doctrines.
7.) The wrath of God is come. The day of God’s judgment on false religion has arrived.

Revelation 11:11-14 [Second Earthquake]
11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

After three days and an half (which represents the 350 years of Protestantism) the Spirit of life from God entered into the ministry and saints of the church of God. In the Sixth Seal earthquake these positive characteristics were manifested: 1.) The church ascended to her lofty, heavenly position, 2.) The church was visible to all her enemies, 3.) a tenth part of the city (Babylon) fell, 4.) seven thousand men were slain, 5.) the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to God, 6.) the Second Woe (judgment against false religion) was delivered to all who had ears to hear.

Each of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Seals contained a message of God’s wrath being poured out on religious heresy and upon those who preached them and those who accepted them. The Third Woe which was given in the Seventh Seal was to the “inhabiters of this earth.” (Rev.12:12).

Let me share with you a small glimpse of the positive effects of the Second Earthquake upon the church of God. There is an extensive written record of the events of this great spiritual revival which took place from 1880 to 1930. I have in my personal possession many such books, papers and letters from this period of church history. The following testimony is not an isolated or rare event. It was the common occurrence of the day. The power of God was present to heal and deliver them that believed. Thousands of people were saved, delivered from the bondage of sin and the oppression of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits. Some of the camp meetings were attended by upwards of 10,000 people.

Camp Meeting report 1913: A most powerful healing service was held on the last Sunday afternoon in the German tent by Bro. E.E.Byrum. A large crowd assembled. At the same time about two thousand people were listening to the preaching of the Word in the Auditorium and a large number were having the Word expounded to them in another part of the camp ground. One woman was healed of cancer. One man who was possessed with evil spirits…bark like a dog…but he was delivered. Sister Bradshaw, invalid for over nine years…brought in a wheelchair…prayer was offered for her, she was enabled to arise and walk. Henry Hill was saved and at the same time healed of his paralysis. And many others were healed. More than one hundred baptized. Three ordination services were held, at which a number of brethren and sisters who had proved themselves worthy and capable were ordained to the ministry. A good sized book of 494 pages was used to give the report of this one Camp Meeting.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Part Two - The First Earthquake

Can we scripturally prove the position that since righteousness, holiness and consecration were on the decline in Noah’s day and John the Baptist’s day, that it will certainly be declining when Jesus returns?

Luke 18:8-9, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:” Does this verse mean that when Jesus returns, there will be very few saints and most of them will be weak in faith? What an awful expectation for the Bride of Christ to be in such a condition when He returns! I do not believe that Jesus is making any reference at all to the condition of the church when He returns. He is exhorting each of us to examine ourselves and ensure that we are full of faith. Will Jesus find faith in you when He comes?

Can we scripturally prove that when Jesus returns there will be few saints on the earth and few, if any, getting saved? Is it really harmful and discouraging to the saints of God to be always desiring to increase and grow in grace? Is it possible to be spiritually satisfied and spiritually ambitious at the same time? Should we accept the idea that if we tell the saints they need to continually desire and labor for an increase in their faith, grace, knowledge and strength, it will discourage them and cause them to become dissatisfied with the church?

How should ministers endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? Is it acceptable to address our differences of opinion from the pulpit prior to speaking with each other privately? Should a minister be allowed or permitted to teach a subject publicly which he has refused to discuss privately? Are the ministers required to obey the rules of Matthew 18:15-17? Are we too cautious about holding fellow ministers accountable for what they teach and how they live? Shouldn’t ministers be able to submit to judgment as well as the saints are expected to submit and obey the preaching of the truth? Did Paul and the New Testament writers just address the saints or did they also address the ministers?

Let’s think about this expression, “The voices are back in the camp of the saints!” Do we know what the Revelation message is teaching us when it talks about “voices, lightnings and thunders”? Could the word “voices” mean more than we think? The “voices” which were heard at the First and Second Earthquake included all of the following attributes and results: 1.) Praise 2.) Preaching 3.)Testimonies 4). Converts 5). Persecution. Does the church today see witnessing and Soul Winning as part of our “voices”? Are we fully out of the “silence” which affected the church at the beginning of the Seventh Seal time? Are ministers being ordained and sent out to preach the gospel? Are missionaries going forth to take this gospel to the lost? How strong is our “voice” in the world today? This thought should not discourage you to inaction; it should increase your burden for souls. It should cause you to pray fervently and prepare yourself for whatever God would call you to do. If we are obeying God and walking in all the light we have revealed to us, does it matter whether or not we are able to precisely place our time in the great timeline of the Gospel Day? The Church of God is always a glorious church. Her liberty has been often restricted. Her influence on the world has often been rejected. But let the church be the church, regardless of external conditions.

The First Earthquake started in Israel. The Second Earthquake started in America. Where will the Third Earthquake start? Will it be in Israel whose house has been left desolate? Will it be in America where the gospel has been trodden under-foot by the majority of its citizens for the last 70 years? Perhaps the Seventh Trumpet will fully sound forth from another continent. Most of us may not like that idea, but it could be true. Just because we have a good measure of truth, light, gifts, praise and blessings does not mean that we are the ones God is going to use. He didn’t go back to Israel to sound forth the Sixth Trumpet or produce the Second Earthquake. Why are we so sure that He will come back to America and sound forth the Seventh Trumpet and produce the Third Earthquake?

The Question before us: Has there been any spiritual event occur since 1930 which will fit the description and meet the analogous requirements of an “earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty and earthquake, and so great”? According to the analogy set forth in the scriptures and in the historical records of the church, has there been an event greater and yet similar in nature to the first and second earthquake which took place in the First and Sixth Seal periods of time?
Voices……………………..What are Voices: Preaching, praise, prayer; the gospel going forth into all the world; missionary work; evangelistic work; apostolic work; the spreading of the gospel.
Thunders…………………..What are Thunders: It is the declaration of Lightning, its report and communication that light has come. It is the understanding of prophecy; the understanding of God’s predictions for the future. Read Revelation 10:3-4, “And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”
Lightning…………………..What is Lightning: It is the mighty revelations of heaven which comes suddenly upon men by means of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the light of truth which brings knowledge and understanding of the divine plan of God.
Earthquake…………………What is an Earthquake: It is a great spiritual shaking which affects all flesh, both in the church and in the world. Is there an earthquake in the Seventh Seal? What are the characteristics of a spiritual earthquake? Has a spirital earthquake happened since 1930? Using the First and Second Earthquake as the Bible standard for defining an earthquake, tell me when and where the Third Earthquake took place.

Some ministers have used the thought that the day in which Jesus comes the second time will be like it was in the days of Noah before the flood, i.e. not many saved and few desire to be saved. What do the scriptures teach us about this thought? What is the message which Christ taught which gives us understanding about that day? Let the Bible tell us:

Matt 24:34-39
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Does this passage of scripture teach us about the quantity of church members or the quality of church members? Is the emphasis upon how many were on the ark; or, the activities of those who were lost in the flood? When Jesus returns to receive His Bride and deliver her up to the Father, the important issue will not be about the numerical quantity of the church but rather the consecration and obedience of its members.

Luke 17:22-30
22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

According to these scriptures, when Jesus returns the second time, people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage and they will be unaware of their eminent danger. They will be living just like they were in the days of Noah and Lot; they will be occupied with eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building and living an immoral life style. In neither of these passages does it have any reference to the quantity of people who were saved and living righteously.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Part One - The First Earthquake

What does the Bible tell us about the end of time, the days and years immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ? Are there specific scriptures that not only describe the “Gospel Day” but also the events of the Seventh Seal period of time? The purpose of this study is to seek the understanding of God on these passages of scripture which teach us about the future and the end of time. May the Holy Spirit give you clear understanding as you meditate on these scriptures.

A list of the scriptures in The Revelation which teach us about the three earthquakes is as follows:
Revelation 8:3-5 First Earthquake
Revelation 6:12-17 Second Earthquake
Revelation 11:11-14 Second Earthquake
Revelation 11;15-19 Third Earthquake
Revelation 16:17-21 Third Earthquake

Revelation 8:3-5 [First Earthquake]
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

These verses describe the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. This position and interpretation has been the commonly accepted meaning for over a hundredd years with the church of God ministers. It is specifically identified in verse five as an earthquake. There can never be an earthquake until God chooses to pour out the power of His influence upon the affairs of the church. In the First Seal earthquake these characteristics were manifested: 1.) voices, 2.) thunders, 3.) lightnings, 4.) earthquake. These characteristics are always present during a spiritual earthquake.

Acts 5:11-14
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

During a spiritual earthquake, when individuals, congregations and doctrines are being shook and proven, only those committed and consecrated to the truth will join themselves to the righteous. Those who are sleeping and slumbering will not want to be disturbed. They will say, “Quiet please! Don’t disturb our peaceful environment. We are blessed, prospering and it has never been more glorious than now.” Many Jewish leaders were content with their relationship with the Romans and they did not want anyone interrupting their life. How often in the course of church history have church leaders become comfortable with their position and resisted the shaking of the Holy Spirit?

Mark 16:17-18
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Acts 2:22
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Acts 15:12
Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

Acts 19:11
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

1 Cor 12:8-10
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

The first earthquake was experienced by the Jewish disciples and the gospel was taken to the Jews first and also to the Gentile. The second earthquake was experienced largely in America and Europe. Since the second earthquake did not take place in the same place and among the same people as the first, should we expect the third earthquake to happen to the same people who experienced the second? Perhaps in unbelieving America, Europe and the Near East the people will be like they were in the days of Noah, Matt 24:37-38, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” The Jew, the Gentiles, the Europeans, the Americans have had their opportunity to accept and keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the third earthquake will come in another continent and to another people.

The first and the second earthquake produced very similar results. Why should not we expect the third to be like the first and second? God is faithful to His Word and His Word describes similar fruit in all three earthquakes. Do we have an accurate definition of a spiritual earthquake? An earthquake is not the same as “voices”. Neither is it synonymous with lightnings and thunders. These are very different works and God must be the power which causes each one to become a reality. Is there sufficient victory over “the silence” in the world to effect an earthquake? Is there a sufficient manifestation of thunders and lightnings to produce the greatest earthquake that has ever been? And very important to remember, has God chosen this time (after 70 years) to send this prophetic earthquake? Is it not true that people do not generally understand the prophecies for the present day until they begin to unfold? Until the prophecies unfold, is it possible to confuse their prophetic events with something which has or is happening?

Friday, March 26, 2010

In Whom Is No Guile

Revelation 14:1-5
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.
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:
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.
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.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Strongs Exhustive Concordance: Guile: NT:1388 dolos (dol'-os); from an obsolete primary verb, dello (probably meant to decoy; compare NT:1185); a trick (bait), i.e. (figuratively) wile: KJV - craft, deceit, guile, subtilty.

WEBSTER: WILE, n. A trick or stratagem practiced for ensnaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice. “That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6.

The word “wile” comes from the Greek word “methodeia” which is the source for our English word “method”. The wiles of the devil and his subtilty is meant to be conveyed. Webster teaches us that the word “wile” is meant to identify that method of speech used when a person will “traverse” or “go over the top of” what is good, decent and truthful. It is: “To turn into ridicule; or to make ludicrous by representation; as by treating a low or trifling subject with great gravity.”

The prophet Isaiah spoke of this “guile” and this “wile” when he said: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Ps 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”

The Christian is without guile in his mouth and he is without guile in his spirit. There is no deceitfulness or lying in the heart or the conversation of a Christian. Neither do we tempt anyone to commit sin by putting bait before them. Woe to that person who sets a snare to cause another person to lose their crown of salvation. The person who is caught in a snare may be recovered by the Savior while the one who set the snare is unrepentant. Or, the one who set the snare may repent and the one snared may be lost forever.

Webster: BAIT, n. 1. Any substance for food, proper to be used or actually used, to catch fish, or other animals, by alluring them to swallow a hook, or to be caught in snares, or in an enclosure or net. 3. An allurement; enticement; temptation.

This is one of God’s righteous principles which govern the way we dress. Christians do not dress immodestly. We do not dress in such a manner as to bait the opposite sex to be tempted to lust. Men and women of our day intentionally dress in such a manner as to make themselves “bait” for the sin of lust.

There is a sin called “guile”. You can’t go to heaven with guile in your heart. It is an evil thing to trick someone to commit sin. Satan tempted Eve with the bait of the forbidden fruit. Satan is a liar. If you trick someone into believing a lie then you become a liar. Rev 21:8 “all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

If you allure, entice or tempt someone to commit sin, then you are guilty of having guile in your heart. Christians are like Nathaniel, "in whom is no guile!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Voices of Holy Men

The Voices of Holy Men speak to us out of the pages of history. We ought to take heed to their testimonies.

“This book of a few of my experiences is written to show how the pioneer ministers worked, and how the LORD WORKED WITH THEM THROUGH HIS Holy Spirit. One outstanding fact in those days, when even though their training was limited, was their burning passion for souls shown in labors, fasting and prayer, and a heaven-born conviction and zeal for the truth. The Holy Spirit had revealed to them an unshaken faith in the Word of God; a faith that would not waver in the most trying and, to man, surprisingly unreasonable cases. My prayers are that this book will bring faith and encouragement to many a soul who is seeking God for help when all other help has failed.” Elder S.O. Susag (1948).

“If we neglect our spiritual lives, we shall be losers every time. The Lord is a jealous God, and if he can’t be first, he won’t be second. If we want him to work in and through us, we must give him a chance to keep our souls replenished and ready for work. At different times while in city-work, I have myself allowed temporal things to get too much on my mind, thus causing me to neglect my devotions. My spirituality would begin to weaken, and I would become less capable of being a blessing to souls. Had I been more diligent at certain times in secret prayer and searching the Scriptures, I should have been spared some sad experiences and heartaches.? Elder Mary Cole (1914).

“I was glad for the privilege of talking to you a little while this afternoon about Africa. I did not learn all about it while I was there but I did learn enough to know that the people are in need of the gospel. It appears to me that in our missionary efforts, Africa has been neglected. I was glad to hear from the other brethren how the work is prospering in other parts of the world, but I have no such an encouraging report for Africa. In that great continent, we are told that there are over 200,000,000 souls. We have no missionaries in that part inhabited by the colored people and I suppose that more than half the people of Africa never heard of the name of Jesus. Is it not awful to think that those people do not know that Jesus Christ died for them? There is a God above who can save these heathen people from all their sins and stop them from fighting and killing each other. They are glad to hear about Jesus. The first thing they want to do when they come to meeting is to get saved. Africa ought to have the gospel. While we are laboring and struggling to get the gospel to those in this country, the Lord help us to do all we can to extend the truth to the poor people in Africa. It may be that in order to do this, you will have to suffer some or to go hungry. Very likely you will get sick, especially in some parts of the country; but what of that? Africa needs the gospel.” Elder D.F. Oden, South Africa (1913).

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Jesus Christ (33)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part Seven - Understanding the Revelation

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. See Hebrews 5:9 and Hebrews 12:2. The Greek alphabet is used to supply a symbolic message about Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. The first and last letter of the Greek alphabet is used to signify His exclusive authority over all time and creation. He is the first and the last. He is the beginning and the end. He is the author and the finisher. There was none before Him and there shall be none after Him. He is not one of many great prophets. He is Lord of lords, King of kings and the Great Bishop and Head over all things to the church. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies: Isaiah 48:12, “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” Before the world was created Jesus was there with His Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ was part of the “us” who spoke the plan “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Gen 1:26).”

9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

As John begins to relate the vision in his letter to the seven churches, he lets the church know that he was on the prison island of Patmos because of his preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." If you run away from persecution, you will run away from your salvation and the Lord Jesus Christ. If you deny Christ before men, He will deny you before God. If you choose to stand up for Jesus Christ, you must be prepared to stand against the majority of the world’s population. Galatians 4:27, "...for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." That is to say, the children of the Great Whore (Catholicism and Protestantism) outnumber the children of the Bride of Christ (The Church of God). These are strong words but they are the words of God. We labor under the burden to present to you the emphatic position of God against false prophets, false teachers, false religions and false doctrine.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

John was "in the Spirit on the Lord's day." He was meditating and communing with God on Sunday when he received this vision. If you desire to hear from God, you must get “in the Spirit." How does one get in the Spirit? This is accomplished by prayer and fasting, bringing your spirit into subjection to the will of God rather than the will of your flesh. The many distractions of this world and the cares of life may prevent you from enjoying sweet communion with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 6:6 instructs us thusly: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Notice that the sound which John heard was not a “trumpet” but it was a voice which had characteristics of the sound of a trumpet. This is consistent with the analogous language employed throughout this book. The voice which John heard was a clear, distinct, certain sound. There was no confusion in the message which was being sounded. The notes could be distinctly understood. 1 Corinthians 14:8, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” In each instance of use, the “great voice” which John heard was the voice of God out of heaven. The true ministry of the church of God must hear the “great voice” before they can sound forth the trumpet which rallies the saints to battle.

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

John was instructed to record and distribute the vision he was about to receive. Through the obedience of John, God has provided a copy of His Revelation of Jesus Christ to the church. If the message of true salvation from sin is to be published in our world, we must obey the call of God to share it with those individuals we meet every day. Souls are dying and going to a devil's hell. God wants you and me to give them this gospel.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 15:11 ...we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.

John was instructed to send this message to seven churches which were located in Asia, of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey/Armenia). History leads us to believe that John was the Pastor of the church of God at Ephesus, having arrived there in time to check the progress of the heresies which sprang up after Paul's departure. These seven churches were all located within 100 miles distance from the Aegean Sea port of Ephesus. John may have been a circuit minister to all seven of these churches.

There is considerable evidence that these seven churches have symbolic reference to the seven periods of time which are also covered by the parallel series of the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets. If indeed the Seven Churches parallel the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets, then we would have three series covering the entire seven periods of time from Christ's first coming unto His second coming. The obvious manner in which God has chosen certain numbers (of which 3 and 7 are very prominent) to manifest His will and divine plan lend credence to this position. It seems to this writer to be inconsistent with the divine perfection implied in God’s use of the numbers three and seven to isolate and separate the Seven Churches from the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets. It may be asked, “Why are the Seven Vials separated from these three?” Let me also remind the reader that we must not become too dogmatic in the interpretation of these symbols. We may not see every detail of every symbol perfectly. For this reason, the interpretation of symbols should never be used as a test of fellowship. As the entire revelation message is unfolded by the inspired ministry of the Holy Spirit, it may appear that we separate the Seven Vials from the other series. In reality we do not. Although each series is strictly and surely related to each of the seven time periods; the Seven Vials did not begin to be preached until after the exposure and judgment of the Beast (Catholicism) and his image (Protestantism) (See Revelation 15:2). However, the principal subject upon which the judgments and wrath of God is poured out is clearly the same as that of the corresponding subject of each of the Seven Trumpet messages. For example: The First Vial is poured out on the earth; and, the First Trumpet message is against the earth. The Second Vial is poured out upon the sea; and, the Second Trumpet message is against the sea; etc. (See Revelation Matrix Chart).

If you would like to receive a copy of the Revelation Matrix Chart and the entire commentary on The Revelation, send me an email request and I will forward to you these study guides as an attachment to an email. (My email address is: jim_storts@yahoo.com). May God bless you. Love and prayers, Bro. Jim Storts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Part Six - Understanding the Revelation

Every true child of God is encouraged to read and understand this book. There is a special blessing pronounced upon those who read, hear and keep the things written in this book. This promised blessing is restated again at the end of the book in Revelation 22:7. Because the Revelation is so misunderstood by so many who are not called of God, most people avoid studying this beautiful book. Let us who have full salvation believe God when He promises to bless those who read, hear and keep the sayings recorded in the Revelation. The word “keep” gives a critical dimension to this charge. It teaches us that we must “watch, to guard against loss or injury.” Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. If we do not watch and stand guard over these precious truths, God will allow Satan to remove them from our mind, vision and understanding. The unfolding of this prophetic revelation is at hand. It had already begun in the days of John.

4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
This Revelation was written by John and sent to the seven churches which were in Asia, of Asia Minor. From these seven churches this message was carried to all of Christiandom throughout all ages. These seven churches are specifically identified and described in chapter two and three.

“The seven Spirits which are before his throne” is not a contradiction to Ephesians 4:4 and other scriptures which teach us about the “oneness” of the Spirit of God. This passage teaches us that the Holy Spirit is working in each of the Seven Seal periods of time. Additionally, it symbolizes the absolute unity of the Spirit of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the faithful Christian believers who have obtained eternal life. (compare chapter 5:8-14). The number seven is used as a symbol to represent entire, complete and perfect. The use of the number seven in this context is not meant to convey a quantitative amount, but rather a perfect and complete quality of interpersonal relationships. This expression is found only in Revelation 1:4, 3:1, 4:5 and 5:6. In each place it is speaking particularly of the spiritual unity of Jesus Christ and the triune Godhead, inclusive of their relationship with the people of God. As there is a perfect unity and oneness in the body of Christ, “the seven Spirits” include the entire New Testament body of ministers as they go forth under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” We are in the Father and the Son; and, the Father and the Son are in us. With the anointing of the Holy Spirit we go forth from the throne of God to take this message to the world.

The Revelation is not written to sinners. It is not written to hypocrites, false prophets, heretics, dreamers or scoffers. It is written to those who are justified and sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit. The Revelation is to encourage the saints with an understanding of the past and present battles which they must endure. The manner in which the mysteries of the Revelation were unsealed, unfolded and made known to the saints almost exclusively precludes prior understanding of future battles and events. The only exception to this statement is found when God chooses to work through prophecy for the purpose of identifying His interventions in the affairs of men. John 13:19, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” Luke 21:31, “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” Prophetic insight of future events must originate with God for the purpose of edifying the whole body of the church. These divine revelations will prepare the saints for imminent battle with adversarial opposition and persecution.

New Testament salvation makes us kings and priests unto God. We have grace and knowledge to reign over all sin and circumstances. It is recorded in Luke 22:26 that Jesus said to his disciples: "...I appoint unto you a kingdom." Romans 6:14 "... Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body." We are qualified to offer sacrifices unto our God. Hebrews 13:15 "...let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Romans 12:1 "...that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." The majority of people in our present world, who profess to be Christian, do not live sacrificial lives. They have not been taught by their pastors that it is necessary to sacrifice their will to the will of God. The world is full of false prophets who preach a false Christ and make merchandise of people’s souls. To become a child of God and have eternal life, one must experience a conversion wherein there has been a humble confession and a complete forsaking of all sin. Sin always has and always will separate man from God. Jesus Christ came to deliver us from all our sins and to empower us with His grace to live holy. We have made ourselves a sacrifice unto God. We rejoice in the death of our self-will. We are joyful in the resurrection of our new life in Christ Jesus. This is the wonderful message which the church of God is proclaiming to the world.

7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Jesus Christ will return. When He comes every eye shall see Him; not just the saints as is taught by many of the perpetrators of the false doctrine of "the rapture." In this verse, it does not say that "he will come in a cloud" or "on a cloud." Notice that it is worded "he cometh with clouds." The word "clouds" is used as a symbol to signify a "group of saints." When Jesus Christ returns, He will return with His holy angels and “with” a great cloud of witnesses.

The holy scriptures give us understanding of these symbols. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” (Hebrews 12:1). The saints of God are a great cloud of witnesses. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” (Matthew 25:31). The gospel according to Mark states: “when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38). Paul also spoke concerning this great event: “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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). When Jesus returns, He will be accompanied by a great company of holy angels. In the twinkling of an eye (I Corinthians 15:50-58), those who have died in the faith will be resurrected and then together with all of the saints of God they will be caught up to meet with Jesus Christ in the air and forever be with Him in heaven. (2 Peter 3:10-12). All sinners will behold this great cloud of witnesses as they are gathered together around the Lord Jesus Christ. Subsequently, yet quickly, after the resurrection of the saints, and in the same twinkling of an eye, all sinners, both those who have died and those who remain on the earth at His coming will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire which is the second death, an eternal separation from God (Rev. 21:8). (Also note that false religious people are referred to as "clouds without water" in 2 Peter 2:17 and Jude v12.)

When Jesus Christ returns the second time, he will return as the judge of all the people of the earth. Time will cease immediately and all souls will be sealed for eternity. There will be no "millennium," nor will there be any opportunity for any person to have a second chance to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Savior and Redeemer. Today is the day of salvation. Prepare to meet thy God, the judge of all mankind who will judge every man according to the deeds done in this body. False prophets, the devil's deceivers, have convinced multitudes of people that they will have a second opportunity to repent, accept Jesus Christ and escape eternal punishment in some future period of time. These false prophets have misappropriated the term "the great tribulation" to identify this fantastic future age. This lie has sealed many self-centered sinners in the damnation of their eternal soul. The Bible says, Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:..." In this life only, there is hope and mercy and grace extended for salvation.

“Every eye shall see him.” Every person who has ever lived and who is living at the time will see Jesus Christ at the same hour of His second coming. No person shall be left wondering where the saints went. Those who are “left behind” will be fully aware of what is taking place. The separation of the righteous from the unrighteous shall be immediate and every person will possess complete knowledge of the reality of the end of time and the judgment of all mankind. “All kindred of the earth shall wail because of him.” The word “wail” means to be grief stricken. Every person who has denied and rebelled against the Lordship of Jesus Christ will be grief stricken. Every person who has “pierced him” will be grief stricken. To be guilty of having “pierced him” means that you are guilty of not allowing Jesus Christ to work in your life. The word “pierced” means to “transfix, to hold fixed or motionless.” Could it be that you are holding Jesus “motionless” in your life? Will you be guilty of having “pierced him”? The preaching of this gospel puts judgment on all sin. Most people do not want to hear their favorite and pet sins named out publicly across the pulpit. Many religious sinners have deceived themselves into thinking that they can continue in their sins and have fellowship with Jesus. But the Bible clearly teaches us that light and darkness can not have fellowship. When Jesus returns, the righteous and the unrighteous will be separated into two groups. Into which group will you be placed?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Part Five - Understanding the Revelation

Since 1930, we have been living in the Seventh Seal and last period of time for this world. The end of the Seventh Seal era will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. No man knows when that specific hour will be, but we do know that we are in the season of the Second Coming of Christ. There is never a safe time to be a sinner. Our present day is certainly not the time to be lost and without fellowship with Jesus Christ our Savior. His second advent is nigh at hand.

However, though we may believe very strongly that the second advent is near at hand; we must also accept that perhaps not every prophecy which must needs be fulfilled before that great and final day has been fulfilled. Jesus Christ will not return until all prophecy which God has spoken has been fulfilled. Who among us has the understanding and authority to say that all prophecies have been fulfilled? It is imperative that every person live each day as if it were his last day on this earth. To presume upon God’s delay in order to walk according to the desires of the flesh, is to be sinfully rebellious and separate from Christ’s fellowship. Whether we believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled; or, whether we believe that all prophecy has not been fulfilled should not be a matter of controversy or a test of fellowship. Let’s wait upon the Lord and see what God unfolds and reveals.

Matthew chapter thirteen has seven parables about the kingdom of God in one chapter. In this “Revelation” we find seven symbolic series about the history of the church in one book. Seven is a divinely appointed symbolic number which indicates completeness. In addition to these seven symbolic chronicles, there are introductory passages which either prepare the reader for that which is to follow or to provide additional historical and spiritual information about the affairs of the church. The entire Revelation message can be outlined thusly:

The Introduction/Presentation Revelation chapter 1
The Seven Churches (series) Revelation 2:1 - Revelation 3:22
The Twenty-four Elders Revelation chapters 4 and 5
The Seven Seals (series) Revelation 6:1 - Revelation 8:2
The Seven Trumpets (series) Revelation 8:7 - Revelation 11:19
The Three Woes (series) Revelation 8:1; 9:12; 11:14; 12:12
The Two Women (series) Revelation chapters 12 and 17
The Two Beasts (series) Revelation chapters 13 and 14
The Seven Vials (series) Revelation 15:1 - Revelation 16:21
The Two Cities Revelation chapters 18 thru 22

God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ. Jesus gave it to His angels. The angels gave it to John. John gave it to the church. This method of communication teaches us that, in addition to submitting to God, we must submit to another (a spiritual guide or teacher) in order to get an understanding of the will of God. We live in a day when people want their own private interpretation straight from God. They do not want to trust or submit to a pastor to tell them about God's requirements for their life. The understanding and interpretation which is being presented in this work is not the author’s private interpretation. This understanding and message is preached by a body of ministers to whom the Holy Spirit has witnessed the certainty of these things. God rarely works through a single man to bring about His will and His doctrines. Whenever it appears that God is or has used a single person to stand alone and proclaim His message for that present time, that minister’s testimony and message will be verily supported by infallible scriptures and the witness of the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Peter warned us, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20).

The apostle John was the man whom God chose to make a written copy of this message, but John was not the only minister to understand the message. God has always worked through a body of ministers to meet the needs of the body of believers. A body is always made up of more than one member/individual. All religious sects which have a single man as their chief founding father are by this single fact signaling their falsehood. The word “private” which is used in this text means “personal.” No man is privileged to possess a private or personal interpretation of the holy scriptures.

Why did God give the Revelation in symbolic language? There are three reasons:

1. The church is in a spiritual war. In wartime, code language is used. It is best to keep many things hidden from the enemy. God does not give sinners understanding of the hidden mysteries of God. Luke 10:22 says: "All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him." Paul said of the gospel, "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." Although there are portions of the Revelation message which may be understood by unsaved individuals, the fullness of this message is only given to the redeemed.
2. God wanted only those who seek Him with a whole heart, diligently, to know the truth. This encrypted symbolic language was not used to confuse, but rather it was used as a method of controlling to whom the understanding was given.
3. Words change meanings but symbols do not. When the King James Bible was translated the word "let" could be used to mean "hinder." The word "prevent" could be used to mean "precede." The word "charity" meant "love." Today the word charity most commonly means to give a gift. Symbols do not change. The nature of a lion and the kingly, ruling character association it implies has never changed. The nature of serpents, doves, sheep and other animals have always remained unchanged. Therefore, symbolic language is timeless.

From Matthew to Jude we teach a literal interpretation of the scriptures unless it is obvious that a parable or symbol is being used. In the book of Revelation we teach a symbolic interpretation unless it is obvious that a literal meaning is intended. There is an important safeguard which we must consider in all these interpretations. We must never teach, from the book of Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel or any other symbolic book or passage of divine scripture, something that would be contrary to the plain teaching of the rest of the Bible. For example, some revelation chart artists put the year "1980" at the end of the seventh seal age. Putting this date as the end of time very nearly approaches a contradiction of the scripture which says that no man shall know the day or hour of Christ's second coming. Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Additionally, it is unwise to take the position that there are not prophecies in the Bible which have their fulfillment in the future of our present day. This position would imply that we have perfect understanding of every prophecy which relates to the future. It would mean that there is no possibility that we may receive additional light and understanding of eschatological events being divinely foretold in the scriptures.

If the Evening Time Apostasy was past and the “silence” was broken during the decades of 1960 and 1970; and, the Seventh Trumpet began immediately to sound; and, “the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets;” then, we must conclude there can not be any possible event past that time which is prophesied in the Bible.

If it is determined that some event later than 1980 is foretold in scripture, then we may know that the position “that there are not prophecies in the Bible which have their fulfillment in the future,” (that is to say beyond 1980) is incorrect. We most surely believe that every prophecy written in the Bible must be fulfilled prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

A wise minister once told me that an interpretation of a symbol should never become a test of fellowship in the church. Our fellowship is based upon holiness and obedience, not the understanding of a symbolic passage of scripture. We must endeavor together in the “spirit of unity” until we come together in the “unity of the faith.” “Let brotherly love continue!” I make that same general appeal in regards to this present work. If any error be found herein, let it be kindly revealed with charity and mercy so that righteousness may prevail.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Part Four - Understanding the Revelation

THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
GIVEN TO THE APOSTLE JOHN

CHAPTER ONE

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.

This book contains the divine “Revelation of Jesus Christ” and His Bride, The Church. It is a prophetic vision of the battles and victories which the church of God must experience throughout the gospel day from Christ's first coming until His second coming. Since the church of God is the body of Christ in this world, this book is a divine disclosure of the true identity of the church of God. By reading this book, a sanctified child of God can receive divine understanding which enables the believer to distinguish the many important differences between the one true church and the many false churches.

Although the Revelation is written specifically to the children of God, who have been born again by the blood of Jesus Christ, it also contains a message to those who are unsaved. To all those who have not been born again, it sounds a loud and strong warning against false religion. It impresses upon the hearts of the unsaved that there is an eminent danger of eternal judgment upon all who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ and His power to make pure and holy all those who believe Him and keep His commandments. The sinner can not gain understanding from this book except by the anointed preaching of a true minister of Jesus Christ. False prophets can not render the proper tense and meaning of this symbolic book. It is sealed and the understanding is given only to the servants of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 29:10-12, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”

Some might ask the question: “Why then do you write an explanation of the Revelation and send it out to the whole world, if the understanding is just for the saints of God.” My answer would be: “The message of truth, which we stand for and preach today, is sent to all people just as the New Testament gospel is sent to all people. It is not for me, or any other person, to limit who hears or reads the words of this commentary. The Holy Spirit will reveal or conceal as He will. The Holy Spirit is the sole judge of who is worthy and who is not worthy.” Matthew 13:10-13, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” Jesus went on to explain the condition of the scoffer and the unbeliever. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.” If a sinner has a rebellious heart which prevents him from understanding the word of God, he will not be enlightened though he be told of his dire condition.

Some people are reluctant and even avoid the study of the book of Revelation; however, the Apostle John wrote “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.” It has always been the will of God to give knowledge, understanding and wisdom to His children who love Him and keep His commandments. The Apostle James wrote: ”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” And King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:2-6, “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”

Frequent and abundant are the instructions to the children of God to live holy as He is holy. Consider the following statements in 1 Peter 1:12-16 “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 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; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

At the opening of the Revelation, we find that this book addresses those things which must shortly come to pass; for the time is at hand. The Revelation began to be unfolded and take place immediately. The Revelation was given during the First Seal period of time (33-270 A.D.) The time of John’s vision was during his exile to Patmos at about 95 or 96 A.D. Jesus Christ, the head of the church, had already established His church, the New Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, the righteous nation which would take the New Testament gospel to the world. Contrary to some modern theologians who believe that the Revelation is yet to take place, the major portions of this vision have now passed and we who remain are looking for the final events of the Seventh Seal, the last and final period of time, to be fulfilled and our Lord Jesus Christ return to receive His Bride into eternal glory.

This book was not written and sent as an epistle; but rather, it was "sent and signified." The word "signified" means "a mark." This term implies that something is made known or verified by a sign. The proper understanding of this Revelation message is a "mark" of God's true ministers. God gave the Revelation to reveal, not confuse. Today, the true people of God have a better understanding of the Revelation message than at any other time in history. False prophets use this book as the foundation for their false doctrines. However, God still has a true ministry who have a divine revelation of the meaning of this book. It is a beautiful disclosure of Jesus Christ and His message to His church.

The Apostle John wrote from the advantage of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the flesh and a divine disclosure or revelation of the plan of God for the church of God. John was qualified and worthy to give us this testimony and revelation of Jesus Christ. John was an eye witness to the acts and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He bore record of all those things which were seen, heard and done. 1 John 1:1-3, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

A disclosure is the act of uncovering something that had been concealed. The understanding of the book of Revelation was unfolded one era (one Seal period) at a time. During each Seal period, the ministry and saints understood those things which pertained to the era in which they were living. They also had understanding of the Seal periods which had become history. However, they did not universally understand what the future Seal periods meant. From Adam until our present day, God has chosen to give unto a few of His prophets a glimpse into the near future. These prophetic revelations and visions are given to encourage and strengthen the faith of God’s people. For an example, let us consider the remarks of F. G. Smith who was a Sixth Seal (1880-1930 A.D.) church of God minister. God gave him a special ability to understand and communicate the truth about the church contained in the book of Revelation. He had a clear understanding of the meaning and interpretation of the symbols for the first six Seals. When he began to write about the Seventh Seal era, which was still future for him, he said,
"Upon the opening of the seventh seal, "there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Whether this interval of silence is intended to be symbolical of any event on earth I do not know; neither have I seen any solution of the matter that is consistent or satisfactory."

His discussion of the Revelation, relative to this period of time, continues to reflect the same tone of mystery. However, In Revelation 10:7, when the Seventh Angel began to sound, we find that the mystery is finished. All Seals have been opened and a complete understanding has been given. "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." The Seventh Seal and Seventh Trumpet angel is declared to begin sounding at the ending of the ½ hour of silence which occurs at the beginning of the Seventh Seal time period. Therefore, the mystery is not finished nor does the Seventh Trumpet message begin to sound until the ½ hour of silence is broken. The important debate of our present day is this very question: When did or when will this ½ hour of silence end and the “mystery of God should be finished”?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Part Three - Understanding the Revelation

Jesus said, "Except you be born again you can not see the kingdom of God." Likewise, unless you have a pure heart and understanding from God, you will not be able to fully understand this book or its interpretation. The understanding of this book was sealed from the beginning (Rev. 10:4) and its full meaning remains sealed today except as God would reveal it to His servants (Rev. 1:1 and Rev 10:7).

Many people have eyes which see not and ears which hear not. (See Mark 8:18). The only cure for this symbolic blindness and deafness is to have your spiritual eyes anointed with spiritual eye salve. (Revelation 3:18). God has, in times past and still does in our present day, put His hand over some peoples eyes and over their ears so that they can not see or hear. There were two disciples on the road to Emmaus one day and Jesus appeared on the road with them. However, the scriptures say that “their eyes were holden.” This means that God put His hand over their eyes in such a manner as to prevent them from recognizing the Lord Jesus Christ. Scoffers and scorners can not see or hear the truth. Their evil attitude makes them profoundly deaf and dumb.

In times past, there was some confusion as to the time when the Seventh Seal would be opened. The question has been asked: “Will the Seventh Seal and the message of the Seventh Trumpet be sounded in heaven or in this time world?” Revelation 8:13 tells us that the Three Woes will be sounded "against the inhabiters of the earth." These Three Woes will be proclaimed by the three angels which follow the fourth angel (see Revelation 9:12,13). The 5th, 6th and 7th angels will sound their Trumpet message to the inhabiters of the earth. If the 7th angel’s message was to be sounded in heaven, then the Third Woe would be sounded in heaven. This is obviously not the proper sense of the scriptures. Thus, we understand that the message of the Seventh Seal, Seventh Angel and the Seventh Trumpet will be to the inhabiters of this time world. See Rev. 8:1 for the opening of the Seventh Seal age.

Jesus Christ purchased the church of God with His own blood. He established it and organized it according to a divine plan which is described in the Holy Scriptures. He equipped the church with officers who were full of the Holy Spirit, able ministers in knowledge, understanding and wisdom. God has always provided His people with men of integrity who can hear His voice and tell the people what “Thus saith the Lord.”

The words of this commentary are not cunningly devised fables and theories or the mere suppositions of the human mind. These are the words of understanding which Jesus has revealed unto His servants, the ministry of the true church of God. The sounding of the Seventh Seal and the Seventh Trumpet message brings us to that epoch in time immediately preceding the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this present era, the Holy Scriptures tell us: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7). God has not ceased to speak to the church through His ministry. The benefit of a Spirit filled ministry is still working in the church of God in the 21st century. Thus, the words set before you in this commentary represent an honest effort to present the student of God’s word with an accurate historical and eschatological report of what the church of God most surely believes. This is not merely the work of this writer, but rather, a record of the faith and testimony of many.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Part Two - Understanding the Revelation

Consider the following methods of communication and bear them in mind as you study the apocalyptical (i.e. divine revelations which are concealed and revealed in symbols and types) writings of the Bible.

ALLEGORY: A figurative sentence or discourse, in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances. The principal subject is thus kept out of view, and we are left to collect the intentions of the writer or speaker, by the resemblance of the secondary to the primary subject. An allegory is in words what hieroglyphics are in paintings. We have a fine example of an allegory in the eightieth Psalm, in which God's chosen people are represented by a vineyard. The distinction in scripture between a parable and an allegory, is said to be that an allegory is a supposed history, and a parable, a figurative description of real facts. An allegory is sometimes called a “continued metaphor.”
Galatians 4:22-26
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

METAPHOR: A short similitude; a similitude reduced to a single word; or a word expressing similitude without the signs of comparison. Thus "that man is a fox," is a metaphor; but "that man is like a fox," is a similitude or comparison. So when I say, "the soldiers fought like lions," I use a similitude. In metaphor, the similitude is contained in the name; a man is a fox, means, a man is as crafty as a fox. So we say, a man bridles his anger, that is, he restrains it as a bridle restrains a horse.

PARABLE: A similitude, a fictitious narrative of common life conveying a moral, adage. A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction. The 13th chapter of Matthew contains seven parables which instruct the reader in the divine nature of the Kingdom of God.

SYMBOL: The sign or representation of any moral thing by the images or properties of natural things. Thus the lion is the symbol of courage; the lamb is the symbol of meekness or patience. Symbols are of various kinds, as types, enigmas, parables, fables, allegories, emblems, hieroglyphics, etc. An emblem or representation of something else. Thus in the Eucharist, the bread and wine are called symbols of the body and blood of Christ.

TYPES: The mark of something; an emblem; that which represents something else. A sign; a symbol; a figure of something to come; as, Abraham's sacrifice and the paschal lamb, were types of Christ. The type is not the true; it signifies or is the mark of the true. Christ, in this example, is the antitype. The Old Testament temple with its two rooms (the Holy Place and the Holiest of Holies) is a type of our New Testament salvation which includes two specific and separate works of grace (justification and sanctification). The two rooms of the temple are types and the two works of grace which constitute full salvation are the antitype.

It may be observed in the oral and written discourses of some modern church of God ministers that a certain definition of the terms “symbols” and “types” will be consistently followed. Symbols are often held to be fictitious and not existing in reality, while types have a corresponding reality in that there was or is a real article, animal or person which existed and is used to represent another. For example: the seven headed – ten horned beast of the Revelation is a symbol and nothing of its kind exists in reality. Whereas, the golden altar referred to in the Revelation is a type because there was a literal golden altar in the Mosaic Tabernacle. As we have already clearly shown, God employs symbolic language to convey His message of truth and holiness. In Matthew chapter thirteen there are seven parables which teach specific elements of truth by using varying parables and their analogous meaning. Matthew 13:3, “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” As Jesus began to share these lessons in parables, the disciples asked Him why He was speaking in parables. Matthew 13:10, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” His answer to them explained that the purpose of employing parables in His teaching was to control who understood what He taught. Matthew 13:11, “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Part One - Understanding the Revelation

Good Morning!!! God has given us another day to sing His praise and to speak to our neighbor about the Savior of the world, the Redeemer of all mankind. Today, if you will hear His voice, He will speak truth to your soul. I challenge you to listen to the Holy Spirit who is sent to you to bear witness of Jesus Christ.

The next few mornings I will share with you portions of my introduction to a commentary which I have written on The Revelation. My hope is that it will inspire you to search the scriptures and not be afraid to study The Revelation. Please bear with me and follow along. God bless you as you read.

Note: The following commentary constitutes a collection of study notes compiled by Jim Storts. This collection of notes is not intended to represent an exhaustive or entire treatise of revealed understanding on the book of Revelation. These notes were originally intended for the personal use of Jim Storts. At the request of many saints who desire to study the scriptures and have the benefit of an accumulation of Church of God ministerial teachings, these notes have been printed to provide the saints with a quick and trustworthy resource. Please use these notes in a charitable and forgiving manner. Any mistakes you may find are mine and not any reflection upon the Seventh Seal Ministry or the Holy Spirit.


INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION

The writer of the book of Revelation was one of the twelve disciples whom Jesus chose to be the first ministers of the New Testament gospel. The apostle John referred to himself as "The Beloved Disciple." The special relationship between the apostle John and Jesus Christ is revealed from the Cross. In the last moments of Jesus' life, the apostle John records these words: "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." This transfer of a son's responsibility for his mother, from Jesus to John, is a great testimony to John's integrity, honor and faithfulness as a son. John was brother to James. They were the sons of Zebedee. Prior to their being called to follow Jesus, they were employed with their father in the family's fishing business. James and John were called the "Sons of Thunder" because of their zeal to preach the gospel without fear or favor of any man. They were quick to request permission to call down fire from heaven upon those who were not receptive to their gospel. (Luke 9:51-56). Although Jesus rebuked them for their over-zealous reaction, their subsequent life proves that they were wholly committed to obey the commandments of Christ and preach His gospel to the world.

God has given a promise of a specific blessing to those who read, hear and keep the words of this prophetic book.

Revelation 1:1-3
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 22:6-7
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Deuteronomy 30:9-10
9 And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

The blessing for reading, hearing and keeping those things which are written in the book of Revelation is equal to the reading, hearing and keeping of the law. The Revelation message is a vital part of the Christian message. Let us make some important observations about this epistolographic book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

1. The writer of the book of Revelation was one of the twelve disciples whom Jesus chose to be the first ministers of the New Testament gospel. He had a personal and intimate knowledge of Christ and the message He preached while here on earth. 1 John 1:1-2, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
2. This same John also wrote the books of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John as well as the Gospel According to St. John. The writings of John were some of the latest writings of the New Testament writers. St. John was written from Ephesus at about 68 A.D. The only books of the New Testament which are historically held to have been written later than the year of 68 A.D. were also written by John. The book of Revelation was written at about 96 A.D. and the books of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John were written from Ephesus during the years 97-100 A.D.
3. The Revelation vision given to John took place at about A.D. 96 (about 66 years after the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) during his imprisonment on the Isle of Patmos. This island is a small, barren, 50-mile square island in the Aegean Sea. It is located about 20 miles from the mainland of Asia Minor. John had been banished to this island prison "for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." John received this Revelation one precious Sunday while communing with God. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." (Revelation 1:10).
4. Jesus Christ sent angels to show John a pictorial and symbolic vision of things which must shortly come to pass. There are four principal methods used to express thought. They are: the spoken word, the written word, the use of pictures and the use of symbols. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus had often used parables and symbols to explain to the disciples the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This technique was used because God purposely controls who understands the deeper mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

When reading and studying the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, everyone must have the help of the Holy Spirit to rightly understand the meaning and the interpretation of the Word of God. The Revelation can not be properly understood by men’s intellectual and analytical reasoning. Understanding is not achieved by any personal or private interpretation. The Revelation is not intended to be understood as a literal description of future events. The Revelation is a symbolic book wherein God has used many pictorial and analogous symbols to represent other religious and spiritual objects, principles and events.

2 Peter 1:16-21
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

When reading ancient literature, one must keep in mind that the author may use any number of various methods of writing to conceal or reveal his message to the mind of the reader. Keep in mind that the Holy Scriptures never employ any of these methods of communication for any evil purpose. God never lies. Neither does God conceal any truth for an unjust cause. God does encrypt His divine messages for the purpose of revealing truth only to His people. He also hides some things from the minds of those who are rebellious and disobedient.