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Sunday   January 20
In the Heavenly Throne Room

Starting in Revelation 4:1, Jesus invites John to come up to heaven to be shown a panoramic survey of history from his time until Christ’s return.

 4:1   After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. 
 4:2   And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne. 
 4:3   And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 
 4:4   And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 
 4:5   And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 
 4:6   And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 
 4:7   And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle. 
 4:8   And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 

 1:26   And above the firmament that [was] over their heads [was] the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne [was] the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 
 1:27   And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 
 1:28   As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. 

 5:11   And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 
 5:12   Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 
 5:13   And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 
 5:14   And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. 

Revelation 4:1–8, Ezekiel 1:26–28, and Revelation 5:11–14 describe heaven’s throne room. What do these verses teach us about the nature of the heavenly throne room?

The apostle looked through the open door into the heavenly temple and at the throne of God. The throne symbolizes God’s rule and governing authority over creation, while the rainbow around the throne signifies God’s faithfulness to His promises (Gen. 9:13–16; Isa. 54:9, 10). However, Satan, who usurped the dominion of this earth and is God’s adversary, has disputed divine authority. The central issue in the great controversy between God and Satan is about who has the right to rule.

Better said, is that Satan has made charges that God is unfair. He has lied about God's character and His government. It is up to us to understand the issue involved. What these charges are is the central issue involved in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. If we understand the issue, we are better able to understand the plan of salvation and the ultimate result of allowing Satan and sin to remain on this Earth for 6,000 years.

God's character has been maligned. God in His infinite wisdom has allowed this world and the entire universe to witness the result of Satan's rebellion and the cure for sin. Why? Because in order to eliminate the chance of sin every coming back into the universe, all of His creatures must see His character and the character of him who brought sin and suffering into being.

The purpose of the heavenly council that John saw gathered in the heavenly throne room was to affirm God’s rightful rule over the universe (Rev. 4:1–8, Rev. 5:11–14).

Read Revelation 4:8–11 and Revelation 5:9–14.

 4:8   And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 
 4:9   And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 
 4:10   The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 
 4:11   Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. 

 5:9   And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 
 5:10   And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 
 5:11   And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 
 5:12   Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 
 5:13   And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 
 5:14   And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. 

What can you learn about true worship in these passages? In chapter 4, why is the Lord God worthy of being worshiped, and, in Revelation 5:9–14, why is the Lamb worthy?

Revelation 4 gives a general description of the throne room in the heavenly temple and of the worship that repeatedly takes place there. While the worship in chapter 4 praises God’s creative power, chapter 5 celebrates the redemption provided by the slain Lamb. These chapters show that true worship recounts and celebrates God’s mighty acts of Creation and Redemption.

God, who created the world in six days, has the power and ability also to restore the world to its original condition and to turn it into the eternal home for His people, all of which He has promised to do.

But, does God have the power to restore man to His original character? If so, why do we not see this in the church today? Or do we? Jesus is calling the church to repentance? What does this say about His power to restore character in man to its holiness at creation? Here is a statement found in Ministry of Healing: "Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He “took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,” that He might minister to every need of humanity. Matthew 8:17. The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character." Pg 17.

Unless we begin to not only teach correctly the gospel of grace, but to live it, the world will not see the truth  in the clear light that God has designed. Now as in the days of Israel, the world sees hypocrisy in the church. As we preach "here are they that keep the commandments of God" we are not keeping God's commands. Instead, as the author of our lesson has stated, we are not walking in the light of God's law, but are in need of repentance. Sadly, many pastors do not believe conversion brings about a new life in Christ Jesus. They do not teach nor believe that when conversion takes place the Holy Spirit brings into the life all of the fruits of the Spirit, not one is missing. Thus we have the blind leading the blind and the result is that it is rare to find one who has truly been born again of the Spirit. Most are being buried alive when baptized.

Think about what the gospel teaches: the One who created not just us and our world, but the entire cosmos, also was the “Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12, NKJV) for us. What amazing hope does this teaching present amid a world full of pain and turmoil?

What does the gospel teach?  Many are confused  because Christianity has misrepresented God and the gospel of grace.  In order for the world to really appreciate the goodness of God, we need to know why God allows bad things to happen to "good" people. This is the issue at hand. We believe and know that God is love. We also know that God is omnipotent, all powerful. Then, why does He not stop the horrible things happening to little children? Satan's charges against God are supported when ever professing Christians sin. Why is this? And, why does God allow bad things to happen to "good" people? A world full of pain, when God is omnipotent and could stop it needs an answer. And, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been given that answer. Then let us not keep it a secret. Many don't understand, therefore they turn away from God who is revealed in the Bible.

God is just who He says He is. He is worthy to be worshiped. Then, we ought to explain to a world in pain why Satan's charges are lies, and why God allows time to continue while the pain continues. What is God doing in the "throne room" that allows the suffering to continue?

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Revelation 4, Ezek. 1:5–14, Revelation 5, Eph. 1:20–23, Heb. 10:12, Acts 2:32–36.

Memory Text: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Revelation 5:5

Last week, we looked at Christ’s messages to His people on earth. Now John’s vision shifts from earth to heaven and focuses on the “things which must be hereafter” (Rev. 4:1)— the future.

The vision of chapters 4 and 5 takes place in heaven’s throne room. The scene of chapters 4 and 5 symbolically portrays God’s control of history and of the plan of salvation. Before the future is revealed, however, we are shown the centrality of Christ’s high-priestly ministry in heaven to His sovereignty over the affairs of the earth and to His redemption of the human race. In such a way, chapters 4 and 5 provide Heaven’s perspective on the meaning of future events recorded in the rest of the book.

One also may notice that while the messages to the seven churches were written in somewhat straightforward language, from now on the book employs even more symbolic language that is not always easy to interpret. This language is taken from the history of God’s people, as recorded in the Old Testament. A correct interpretation of Revelation requires a proper understanding of its symbolic language in light of the Old Testament.

Amen. And we might add that it is impossible to rightly interpret portions of the Book without an understanding of world history since we will find prophesies that involve what has happened as well as what will happen to not only churches, but nations and cities. But, the Bible is the source for interpretation of symbols being used. An understanding of the Hebrew Sanctuary and its services is necessary for we will often find it being used in the Book of Revelation. Lastly, as we have mentioned previously, the Book of Daniel is closely aligned with the Book of Revelation. It is now an "unsealed" Book that gives much light on the writings in the Book of Revelation.

* Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 26.
Amen, amen, and amen!!  The things of this world do not bring happiness, love, joy, or peace. Many are exhausted from trying to do that which will in the end prove to be a failure. But, Jesus offers us love, joy, and peace not only in this world, but in a world to come where there is no illness, tears, or death. Imagine a life with Jesus that never ends!!

Jesus is today in the heavenly sanctuary attempting to put and end to sin, suffering, and death. And, He is not only judging those who profess to serve Him, He is preparing (cleansing) a people so He can come and get us. "And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes...Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." Some do not believe this because they have never drunk from the fountain this clean water. In today's reading we better understand what this clean water is. As Pastor Sean, Beacon, and Dorine have so seen, it is the "living water" that Christ offers to all who thirst. It is that same water that the woman at the well drank of that caused her to leave her water pot behind so that she could share that living water with her friends. It is the well of water that will spring up in all who will learn of Jesus and give to Him the whole heart. And, with the water comes everlasting life. What an offer Jesus makes for all who will come unto Him.

Amen Beacon and Pastor Sean. It is so easy to drift from the shelter of God's love and mercy but I'm so thankful that He does not treat us as we deserve. When we realize our condition Christ is ever ready to satisfy the empty, longings of our heart. But we must answer His call to come. 

"If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The condition of the people made this appeal very forcible. They had been engaged in a continued scene of pomp and festivity, their eyes had been dazzled with light and color, and their ears regaled with the richest music; but there had been nothing in all this round of ceremonies to meet the wants of the spirit, nothing to satisfy the thirst of the soul for that which perishes not. Jesus invited them to come and drink of the fountain of life, of that which would be in them a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life."

He extends the same offer today to anyone who desires something better. He does not push Himself on anyone. Although His offer of salvation is to ALL it is conditional. He is looking for those who accept Him as their personal Saviour and are willing to live as He lived while on this earth. He promises to be with us and change us into His image as we behold Him. To behold Him is to spend time in study of His life through the biblical account and the additional light given through the SOP. It will change your life as it is changing mine.
     ]esus knew the wants of the soul. Pomp, riches, and honor cannot satisfy the heart. "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me." The rich, the poor, the high, the low, are alike welcome. He promises to relieve the burdened mind, to comfort the sorrowing, and to give hope to the despondent[/color]. [/b]

Many of those who heard Jesus were mourners over disappointed hopes, many were nourishing a secret grief, many were seeking to satisfy their restless longing with the things of the world and the praise of men; but when all was gained, they found that they had toiled only to reach a broken cistern, from which they could not quench their thirst. Amid the glitter of the joyous scene they stood, dissatisfied and sad[/b]. That sudden cry, "If any man thirst," startled them from their sorrowful meditation, and as they listened to the words that followed, their minds kindled with a new hope. The Holy Spirit presented the symbol before them until they saw in it the offer of the priceless gift of salvation.

This reminds me of this text of scripture found in "Isaiah 53:6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  How often when we are not spending enough time with Jesus on a daily basis we drift away from the source of power. We tend to think that we can sustain our walk with God through our own wisdom. But we find out after traveling that road for awhile that we have actually cut ourselves off from the source of all power and wisdom, we are running on empty and then wonder why we crash spiritually. But there is good news...[/b]
The cry of Christ to the thirsty soul is still going forth, and it appeals to us with even greater power than to those who heard it in the temple on that last day of the feast. The fountain is open for all. The weary and exhausted ones are offered the refreshing draught of eternal life. Jesus is still crying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.[/color]"Revelation 22:17; John 4:14.
Satan thought that by putting Christ to death, it would destroy Him. But Christ's death was the means of destroying Satan's deceptive hold on the universe's conception of God, and the means by which living water would flow to souls in need of a healing draft of a revelation of the loveliness of Jesus' character which has power to transform us into His image! We also, through Christ, can learn and understand that the very wounds Satan has perpetrated against us are to be agencies whereby the healing streams of living water will flow to others. The attacks the devil waged against my mind in the excruciating suffering of losing my dad, my mom, and then going through extreme mental anguish about my salvation, identity, and sanity were all graciously allowed by God to give me a testimony of God's grace to give hope to heal others who are wounded and bruised by Satan, but who do not yet see the blessing in how God has promised to work all things together for good to them that love Him. I see that many of those whom Satan has most bruised and battered are enabled by the grace of God to become the most closely united with Christ in selfless ministry because they feel their need of Jesus continually. So let Jesus use your wounds and bruises that He heals to let flow His living water through His story wrought out in your life. I am SO ENCOURAGED this Sabbath morning, because Jesus has me on a path to share what His grace has done, and it keeps getting sweeter and more beautiful because I realize that God never wastes our pain, and He has a healing story to write through our lives that will help many more heavenward. We get to share what God's grace has done, in changing our stony hearts of unbelief to new hearts filled with His faith that works by love, filling us with all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing, because the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and we have holy boldness to share the everlasting gospel!

"The priest had that morning performed the ceremony which commemorated the smiting of the rock in the wilderness. That rock was a symbol of Him who by His death would cause living streams of salvation to flow to all who are athirst. Christ's words were the water of life. There in the presence of the assembled multitude He set Himself apart to be smitten, that the water of life might flow to the world. In smiting Christ, Satan thought to destroy the Prince of life; but from the smitten rock there flowed living water. As Jesus thus spoke to the people, their hearts thrilled with a strange awe, and many were ready to exclaim, with the woman of Samaria, 'Give me this water, that I thirst not.' John 4:15." {The Desire of Ages, page 454, paragraph 1}

Satan thought that in smiting your life he would destroy you. That was his plan for me. But God has better and bigger plans, and He will so abundantly glorify His name through your experience as you learn of Him and surrender fully to Him moment-by-moment that you will realize you would not have chosen for things to be any other way, because God Himself is leading you heavenward every day!! Hallelujah!!!!!!
Signs of the Times / Brain Doctor: Near-Death Tales Are Just “Hollywood Jazz”
« Last post by Cop on January 18, 2019, 10:32:39 PM »
Brain may stay active for hours after death

| Ananya Mandal, MD, News-Medical.Net – A team of researchers has found that the brain works for a while after the heart has stopped.

The scientists from New York’s Stony Brook University of Medicine looked at patients with cardiac arrests in Europe and the US.

They noted that patients who were successfully resuscitated after their heart had stopped beating could recall the conversations around them between the healthcare personnel and were aware of their surroundings.

Study leader Dr. Sam Parnia explained that death is declared when the heart stops beating; as the heart stops beating, it stops pumping blood to the brain and slowly the brain begins to shut down.

He added that this process of the brain shutting down slowly may take hours and the person may be dead during this time but aware of their surroundings.
But when CPR is given and the heart is started again, so does the brain function. He said,

“If you manage to restart the heart, which is what CPR attempts to do, you’ll gradually start to get the brain functioning again. The longer you’re doing CPR, those brain cell death pathways are still happening — they’re just happening at a slightly slower rate. What tends to happen is that people who’ve had these very profound experiences may come back positively transformed. They become more altruistic, more engaged with helping others. They find a new meaning to life having had an encounter with death. But there isn’t like a sudden magical enhancement of their memories. That’s just Hollywood jazz.”

More @:
Bread of Life / Re: A Thought For Today
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 18, 2019, 09:47:44 PM »
Reconciling Verses

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Romans 13:1,2 

We are nearing the end of this world's history. There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property, and even of life itself, to defend the law of God, which is made void by the laws of men. In this situation worldly policy will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.... The powers that be are ordained of God.”

But what has been the course of God’s servants in ages past? When the disciples preached Christ and Him crucified, after His resurrection, the authorities commanded them not to speak any more nor to teach in the name of Jesus. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They continued to preach the good news of salvation through Christ, and the power of God witnessed to the message. The sick were healed, and thousands were added to the church. “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.”

But the God of heaven, the mighty Ruler of the universe, took this matter into His own hands; for men were warring against His work. He showed them plainly that there is a ruler above man, whose authority must be respected. The Lord sent His angel by night to open the prison doors, and he brought forth these men whom God had commissioned to do His work. The rulers said, Speak not “at all nor teach in the name of Jesus;” but the heavenly messenger sent by God said, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”

The papal power is at work to bring about national Sunday laws. Those who seek to compel men to observe an institution of the papacy, and trample upon God’s authority, are doing a work similar to that of the Jewish leaders in the days of the apostles. When the laws of earthly rulers are brought into opposition to the laws of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, then those who are God’s loyal subjects will be true to Him and keep His commandments rather than the laws of man.

In the very same chapter that we are told to follow man made laws, chapter 13 of Romans, we find the answer as to why we would not follow the powers of man when they are in conflict with the commands of God. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." verses 8-10.

By presenting the commandments of God, it is thus made clear that the chapter does not mean we are to follow evil men when they make laws that are in opposition to the commands of God.

You'd have to be brave or mad to leave your fingerprints ;)
Signs of the Times / Re: Paris Sunday Law
« Last post by Marelis on January 18, 2019, 04:37:15 PM »
For air quality and pedestrian space to really be the concern or reason it'd be every weekend, Sat/Sun. It's to get people used to the idea and to think it's great and for them to want it more often.
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