Friday, February 15, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 9-15): the Seven Trumpets

Some prayers should not be answered.

Not right away, at any rate.

Consider the prayer of Revelation 6:9-11 -- the prayer in which the martyrs tell God to hurry up with the Final Judgment. Yes, they want God to hurry up and give the bad guys a good smacking.

And no, this is not an unusual prayer; many of the Psalms say much the same thing.

But the martyrs are told to wait . . . 

And even when God answers their prayer through the Seven Trumpets, it is still only a partial answer to their prayer, with "only" one-third of Creation subject to His judgment.

To be sure, that's still a lot -- but it's not as much as the martyrs wanted.

But near the end of the Seven Trumpets, something happens that is almost unbelievable -- in fact, some experts don't believe it . . . and that's when the survivors of all these judgments "give glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 11:13).

Unlikely?

Yes.

Impossible?

Perhaps.

But God is willing to take that risk.

Yes, He's waiting to wait -- to delay His answer to our prayers for judgment -- in the hope that some people might still be saved. 

Friday, February 08, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 2-8): the Sealed People of God

When the Great Tribulation begins, God has 144,000.

And when the Great Tribulation ends, God still has 144,000.

In spite of all the World, the Flesh, and the Devil can do, in other words, God has not lost a single person who trusted Him.

And if God can get all of His people through the Great Tribulation . . . 

Then we can be sure that He will get us through today.

And not just some of us.

All of us.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 26 - February 1): the Seven Seals

Having read Revelation 6, now read Leviticus 26:14-26.
  • Name some of the ways these chapters are similar in their use of the number seven, and in the events described.
  • What cause is given for the events in Leviticus? What does this suggest about the cause of the events in Revelation 6?
  • What hope do you find in Leviticus 26:40-46? Where can you find a reason for similar hope in the Book of Revelation?
  • Are the events listed in Leviticus 26 meant as punishment, or as warning? What does this suggest about Revelation 6?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 19-25): Worthy is the Lamb

Glory only gets you so far.

Revelation 4, after all, makes following God sound like tons o' fun. Yes, you've got thunderous noise, a dazzling light-show, and a mosh-pit down front that's used for casting crowns.

(All of which suggests that some of us are going to be a little discomfited by just how lively worship will be in heaven!)

But when it comes to making all this happen "on earth as it is in heaven"?

That's where sacrifice comes in.

That's where suffering comes in.

Yes, that's why "the Lamb who was slain" takes over in Revelation 6.

And no, there's nothing wrong with glory.

Nothing wrong with good times.

Nothing wrong with thunderous praise-services.

But it's worth remembering that God's people "follow the Lamb wherever He goes."

Not just places of glory.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 12-18): Jesus' Messages to the Seven Churches

Seven churches.

And not one of them you'd want to attend.

Ephesus?

A church where the potlucks begin on time and they never run out of dessert . . .

But it's also a church that's cold -- ice cold -- with no love to go around.

The rest are no better:
  • Smyrna is poor and persecuted.
  • Pergamum has been taken over by the crazies.
  • Thyratira's utterly without standards of any kind.
  • Sardis is dead.
  • Philadelphia's another Smyrna.
  • And if you like hypocrites, then you're going to love Laodecia!
In short, none of these churches are perfect -- and all would give you a good reason to stay home on Sabbath morning.
Yet Jesus still loves them.
Still works with them.
Still has plans for them.
So what does He see in these churches that we don't?
And what does He see in your church that you don't?


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 5-11): Among the Lampstands

Worst.

Retirement.

Ever.

John is on the island of Patmos, remember -- sent there as punishment for his persistence in following the "superstition" of Christianity.

Having followed Jesus for 60+ years, in other words, he's now stuck in a place with no friends, no family, and nobody to look after him.

No, nobody except Jesus.

But it's there on Patmos that Jesus reveals himself to John.

And it's there on Patmos we're reminded that Jesus will be with us always, "even to the ends of the earth."

Anyplace can be a blessing, in other words.

And just like John, we can be a blessing anyplace . . . 

Even on Patmos. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Adult Sabbath School lesson (December 29 - January 4): the Gospel from Patmos

In a parking-lot full of muscle cars, nobody would have noticed that Plymouth Valiant. No, it looked like the kind of car your grandmother would drive, right down to its faded-yellow paint. 

Likewise, nobody back in John's day would have looked twice at God's people.
  • They were few in number -- maybe 0.1% of the population.
  • They were low in status -- many of them were slaves, remember, and most of them were women.
  • And their proclamation that "Jesus is Lord" was ridiculous -- I mean, everybody knew the only "lord" that mattered back then was Caesar.
Like that Valiant, in other words, God's people didn't look like much on the outside . . . 
And that's why God "popped the hood" to show them what's inside.
That's what "revelation" means, after all -- it comes from the ancient Greek work APOKALUPTO, which means "to pop the hood so you can see what it's got inside."*
"Pop the hood" on that Valiant, for instance, and you'd get a "revelation"of everything you need made to make a car go fast (including a nitrous-oxide system).
In much the same way, the Book of Revelation "pops the hood" on God's people to show you:
  • They may look small -- but in reality, they are "a great crowd that no one can number."
  • They may seem insignificant -- but God has made them "a kingdom and priests."
  •  And while the caesars of this world may call themselves "lord," the Book of Revelation shows us just who really is "the lord of lords" and "king of kings."
Just like that Valiant, in other words, God's people may not look like much on the outside.
But God knows what's inside.
And it's what's inside that really counts.


*This is from the Revised Brothers Version of scripture -- your mileage may vary.