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Copyright© 2019 by the Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department, General Conference of

Seventh-day Adventists, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, U.S.A.

January–March 2019 A General Conference


Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department Publication

The Book of Revelation

First Quarter 2019


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The Book of Revelation

January–March 2019

Staff
Editor: Justin Kim
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Reading Committee
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Falvo Fowler
Tim Poirier

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Pages 2 and 3

The Book of Revelation

1. The Gospel From Patmos


Paul Clarke, Gordon S. Jones, Dawn Forde Murphy, Tamra Clarke, Opal Leighvard,
Ugochi Nkoronye, Althea Dixon

2. Among the Lampstands


Emma L. Harper, Craig Mattson, Daniel Perez, M. Lizzette Harper, Kevin Henderson,
Meggan N. Harper, Craig L. Mattson

3. God’s People in Cities


Ashley Eisele, Gary R. Wagner, Jordan Wagner, Callie Neal, Randolph Farley, Deena
Bartel-Wagner, Ashley M. Wagner

4. The Enthronement of the Lamb


Tim Lale, Chelsy Tyler, Randy Fishell, Catherine Robinson, Kim Machado, Juliana
Baioni, Kim Peckham

5. The Seven Seals


Michelle Gordon, Lee Givhan, Rochelle Amos, Kristina Wint, Andrew Carroll,
Manushka Gracia-Desgage, Sarah Horatius

6. The Sealed People of God


Julius Nyerere, Mark Gift, Tony Philip Oreso, Jane Oreso, Pauline Otieno, Dorothy
Odhiambo, Sam Ochieng’

7. The Seven Trumpets


Joneen Wilson, Eugene W. Prewitt, Michel Lee, Jonathan Wheeler, Jason Miller, Juan
Antialon, Wadenerson Saint Martin

8. Satan, a Defeated Enemy


Anne Akoth, Norbert Kurema, Seline Khavetsa, Brenda Kurema, Patience Joyner, Silas
Onyango, Erick Onyango

9. Satan and His Two Allies


Seth D. Roberts, Tanner Martin, Seth Shaffer, Jose N. Briones, Esther Louw, Daniela
Pusic, Samuel Smith

10. God’s Everlasting Gospel


Halee Boughton, Jermaine Gayle, Daniel McGrath, Isai McGrath, Chris Matts, Athena
Heredia, Benjamin Garcia

11. The Seven Last Plagues


Matthew Lucio, Andrew Carroll, Weslie Onsando, Destinie Candis, Michelle Odinma,
Laura Lucio, Levi Collins

12. Judgment on Babylon


Bernard Mutuku, Joseph Wambua, Augenia Nzuve, Josephine Nduku, Rose Ndanu,
Patrick Nzuve, Siprose Ngina

13. “I Make All Things New”


Emma Campbell, Richla Sabuin, Jude Joshua Marandi, Komal Nunfeli Swansi, Karan
Kenneth Swanwi and Rhea Joanna Marandi, Ashley Natash Odhiambo, Miguel Alejandro Patino
Ramirez
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Getting the Most


Out of CQ

FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW


CQ is based on the conviction that the Word of God offers transforming power and that
group study is one important way to tap into that power. CQ’s purpose is to provide Seventh-day
Adventist young adults with a resource for devotional study on mutual topics with the Adult
Bible Study Guide, which can then be discussed each week in Sabbath School. Many who use
the Adult Bible Study Guide find that because CQ deals with the same topics, it enriches lesson
study and discussion as a supplemental aid.
About four hundred Adventist young adults contribute to CQ each year. The wide variety
and occasional repetition of the content reflects the great diversity of its contributors around the
world as they respond creatively and individually to the subject.

POINTERS FOR STUDY


1. Through prayer, open your mind to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you study.
2. The Bible passages on which each week’s lesson are based appear in bold type in the
“Logos” portion of the lesson. Read these entire passages.
3. The Bible passages for the week are usually divided into sections on the “Logos”
pages. When studying these sections, carefully reread the Bible passages indicated in bold
headings before reading the comments beneath the headings.
4. Read the other sections for the week with the perspective you have gained from your
own study of the biblical passages.
5. Keep in mind the purposes of each section of the Bible study guide:
Introduction is designed to stimulate your interest and focus your thinking on the week’s
theme.
Logos is a guide for direct study of the Bible passages for the week.
Testimony presents Ellen White’s perspective on the lesson theme.
Evidence approaches issues raised by the lesson from a historical, scientific,
philosophical, or theological perspective.
How-to discusses what the abstractions in the lesson mean for day-to-day living.
Opinion is a personal viewpoint on the lesson meant to encourage further thought and
discussion.
Exploration provides the reader with a variety of open-ended, creative ways to explore
the topic of the week’s lesson.

CQ AND THE CHURCH


CQ is the General Conference-approved Bible study guide for the young-adult age group.
It upholds the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, its contents should not be
regarded as official pronouncements of the church.
lesson one
December 29‒January 4

The Gospel from Patmos

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things
which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3, NKJV).
Sabbath
December 29

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe like Revelation?

Introduction
Rev. 1:1

In 2005 the blockbuster movie, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” based on the
children’s series by C.S. Lewis, was released worldwide with an interesting public relations
dilemma. The titular Lion was originally marketed widely among Christian communities as a
representation of Jesus, but when they tried to reach the wider audience, they backed off the
religious analogy that C.S. Lewis was making. The Lion is an allusion to Jesus; at the allegory’s
climax he lays his life down to save Edward, the betrayer, and to undo the everwinter curse cast
on Narnia by the Witch.

Revelation was similarly written with analogies clearly intended for the church. It has been
dubbed the most mysterious book of the Bible. Varying interpretations have been made and
dispensed by differing faiths causing quite a bit of confusion in the Christian community. Some
churches have chosen to ignore this important book entirely because they find it too mysterious
and difficult to understand.

In order to understand Revelation and its various symbols, one needs to have a good knowledge
of the 65 other books of the Bible. Only in the context of Scripture can we get an accurate
rendering of the symbolism in Revelation. Remember that John wrote this book for the church,
people already schooled in the basic teachings of the Bible.

Can Revelation be understood? Yes! Study with a willingness to dig deeper into Scripture and
God’s truth will be revealed to you in the book of Revelation. “Those who desire light must
search the Scriptures, comparing scripture with scripture and pleading with God for the
illumination of the Holy Spirit. The promise is that those who seek shall find.”1 And Jesus
promised, in the Beatitudes, that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.
May you be filled as your eyes are opened to the mysteries of Revelation by diligent study and
the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth.

Paul Clarke, Orlando, Florida, USA

Callout: Can Revelation be understood? Yes!

1
Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, July 6, 1911.
Sunday
December 30

Encouragement for the Discouraged

Logos
Rev. 1:9, 19; 11:15

The Reason for the Letter (Rev. 1:9)


Revelation is a passionate pastoral letter, intended to produce confidence and hope among God’s
people. It was written by the apostle John on the island of Patmos, forty miles from his home
town of Ephesus. John, who was also suffering persecution, had a concern for the persecuted
Christian community. The book is frequently referred to as The Revelation of John, however, the
book identifies itself as The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This is significant, because a revelation
of Jesus will always transform one’s outlook and thereby affect the outcome of their situation.

While the book of Revelation contains seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor, the entire
book was actually one letter, expected to be read publicly to all the churches. This letter is
apocalyptic in nature; the Greek word αποκάλυψη means the uncovering or revealing of things
that are otherwise hidden. One characteristic of this apocalyptic literature is that the revelations
are not just about what will happen in the unseen future, but what is happening right now in the
present unseen realms. The book is more than just a revelation of hidden things; it is also
profoundly prophetic in nature. The predominant reasons for the prophetic literature is to
proclaim the impending judgement of God, and also to promote the certainty of His promise of
salvation.

Things Hidden yet Seen


The Things which are (Rev. 1:19; 2, 3): The book of Revelation unveils deep structures of the
universe. These deep structures are not visible to the most powerful space telescope or particle
accelerator. Revelation reveals them, by drawing back the veil of spiritual obliviousness to show
us a world unseen to the human eye. We are able to see a world of despair and pain, however, in
that world there is also hope and promise. This encourages and inspires Christians to endure and
remain faithful during the time of conflict, both the internal wars between personal faithfulness,
and the abandonment of faith, and the external wars of a culture out of control. There are three
hidden truths from the things which are, that everyone must acknowledge. Firstly, that there is
nothing hidden from God. He knows all about us, our struggles, our failings, and our triumphs.
Secondly, overcoming is an imperative, and is possible through the power of Jesus. And finally,
it is important to heed the revealed warnings and counsels of the Holy Spirit.

The Things which shall be (Rev. 1:19; Rev. 4–22): We see these deep structures also at the
beginning of John’s vision when he is caught up into heaven to be shown “what must take place”
(4:1). There, in heaven, he sees a throne and one seated upon it. Everything else is described in
relation to this throne. The throne is surrounded by four cherubim who cry out “Holy, Holy,
Holy” (4:8) and by 24 elders who fall down and say, “You are worthy” (4:11). There is a single
throne at the center of the universe, and its occupant rightly receives worship because He is the
Creator of all things. The world is not out of control. The One who created it is still actively
sovereign.

Also, on the throne is a Lamb “standing as though slain” (5:6). This Lamb is also the Lion of
Judah who has conquered, and thereby has the key to God’s plan of history. Here is the second-
deep structural truth: the key to history is this mixed metaphor of the conquering Lion who is the
slain Lamb. He has conquered by being slain and raised to new life. At his feet the cherubim and
the elders also fall down and say, “You are worthy” (5:9). They are joined by all the angels,
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain” (5:12). There is a hidden truth from the things which shall
be, that everyone must acknowledge, and it is, that the throne of God is still the center of the
universe, and a glimpse of that throne will dethrone all other gods we worship.

Making Room for the Kingdom (Rev. 11:19)


To understand the book of Revelation in our day, we have to understand the nature of hope. For
Christians hope is not a wish. It is not a tooth under a pillow, or fingers crossed. Christian hope is
assurance, a firm, binding promise. It is not a feeling; it is a fact. Hope is independent of
circumstances, and it will never be conquered by evil. Even if hurt seems to be winning, the
battle has already been won. It is a fact rooted in the reality of the prophetic nature of the book,
“the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will
reign forever and ever” (11:19). This is the promise to those who are suffering for the Kingdom,
and the warning to those are opposing the Kingdom.

REACT
1. What are some of the challenges you face that are discouraging as a Christian?
2. How is your life impacted by the revelation of the promise that the kingdom of this world will
become the Kingdom of God?
3. Explain how you find encouragement in the promises revealed?

Gordon S Jones, Houston, Texas, USA

Callout: A revelation of Jesus will always transform one’s outlook.


Monday
December 31

“ Sealed Book?”

Testimony
Rev. 1:1–3

“Many have entertained the idea that the book of Revelation is a sealed book, and they will not
devote time and study to its mysteries. They say that they are to keep looking to the glories of
salvation, and that the mysteries revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos are worthy of less
consideration than these.

“But God does not so regard this book. He declares: ‘I testify unto every man that heareth the
words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto
him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of
the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the
holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things
saith, Surely I come quickly’ (Rev. 22:18–20).

“The book of Revelation opens to the world what has been, what is, and what is to come; it is for
our instruction upon whom the ends of the world are come. It should be studied with reverential
awe. We are privileged in knowing what is for our learning. But do we treat the word of God
with the reverence which is his due, and with the gratitude which God would be pleased to see?
‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works.’

“The Lord Himself revealed to His servant John the mysteries of the book of Revelation, and He
designs that they shall be open to the study of all. In this book are depicted scenes that are now in
the past, and some of eternal interest that are taking place around us; other of its prophecies will
not receive their complete fulfillment until the close of time, when the last great conflict between
the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven will take place.”1

REACT
1. In the contemporary world that we live in, what can you do to study and share the book of
Revelation in an innovative way?
2. How are we blessed when we hear and read the words of prophecy?
3. If we are counseled on the importance of studying the book of Revelation, why do we see so
little understanding of this book today?

Dawn Forde Murphy, Weirsdale, Florida, USA

Callout: The book of Revelation opens to the world what has been, what is, and what is to come

1
Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, August 21, 1987.
Tuesday
January 1

Vision from the Volcano

Evidence
Rev. 1:3

The rocky landscape of Patmos, a volcanic island off the coast of modern-day western Turkey,
would experience its mightiest eruption in the form of a supernatural delivery of a message from
the Son of God. In the Aegean Sea, on this northernmost island of the Dodecanese, literally
meaning twelve islands, the disciple at the heart of Jesus’ inner circle was in exile because of his
unwavering commitment to the LORD. At the time, John was a figurative island on a literal island
separated from the other eleven apostles because he was the sole survivor.

Most historians believe Revelation was written in AD 95 near the end of Emperor Domitian’s
rule. Unlike the emperors of his time who waited until after death to be hailed as gods, Domitian
wanted his worship while he was alive. While championing an effort to get Christians to
renounce their faith he came face to face with a bulwark who refused to bow down. John, had
walked with Jesus and wouldn’t deny Him to elevate an earthly emperor’s ego.

Roman historian Tacitus mentioned a Roman policy of exiling political prisoners to the small
islands. At the time of banishment to Patmos, John was a very senior citizen and that would have
made the terrain of this location difficult to navigate. Yet he knew God would see him through
the trials (Rev. 1:9).

At the base of the mountain on Patmos John was separated from the familiar. However, halfway
up the mountain lies the Cave of the Apocalypse where it is believed that John resided when he
received the visions. Today, it is a World Heritage Site.

Fellow believers suffering persecution deeply desired hope; and Jesus would not fail to deliver a
sure word. In fact, Revelation 1:3 gave immediate encouragement to John who was enduring
exile because he read, heard and kept the Word of God. Verse three additionally initiates the first
promise in a series of seven blessings or “beatitudes” occurring throughout Revelation.

In the book of Luke, the blind man desperately wanted his vision restored. Through the book of
Revelation, Jesus maximized that singular opportunity to restore sight to invite the entire world
to heed spiritually eye-opening instruction which would lead to permanent restoration to Him
and the Father.

REACT
1. What are some ways to decode Biblical symbols?
2. Should any of Revelation’s language be taken literally?
3. Is Revelation’s mysterious message still relevant for Christians today?

Tamra Clarke, Weirsdale, Florida, USA


Callout: John was a figurative island on a literal island
Wednesday
January 2

Is Your Heart Ready?

How-to
John 14:1–3; Rev. 1:1, 2; 22:16

From the beginning, God has had a plan of salvation for us all. His Word does not return void,
neither is He slack in His promises (Isa. 55:11; 2 Pet. 3:9). John 14:1–3 presents Jesus’ promise
to return and take us to live with Him in a prepared place where we will live with Him forever.
This is in stark contrast to the state of the earth now, a place that has lost its color, vibrancy and
life. Just as in climates where trees with green leaves lose their chlorophyll, change color and
fall, sin has caused us to do the same.

Only plants that are rooted and grounded in good soil are able to thrive against strong winds, rain
or other severe weather. In this same way, as Christians we must be rooted and grounded in
Christ. He is the only thing that can keep us strong in times of trouble.

A little pruning is good for our “branches.” Thinning out the thick leaves of a tree can help to
increase air and sunlight which results in increased plant health. We must be willing to open our
hearts completely to Christ, thereby letting Him remove our sin and those elements that block
His light to our lives. God gave John the revelation and the words of Jesus Christ. Those words,
when applied to our lives work to cut out those parts of our lives that keep us resistant to Him
(Heb. 4:12). His pruning is a necessary component to our spiritual growth. Jesus admonishes us
to follow his example, and have love for our mankind, but not to take on or love the things of this
world (1 John 2:15–17). Pruning helps us to remove those things while keeping us bound to
Christ.

Daily sunlight and water allows the process of photosynthesis to occur which feeds the plant and
allows it to thrive in all its beauty. Our daily sunlight and water are the things that we let into our
hearts. Jesus cautions us to not let our hearts be troubled (John 14:1). If we pour in prayer and
Bible study, then we will have peace as well as bear good fruit that testifies of Christ and is a
witness to others.

REACT
1. Revelation 22:16 says that Jesus is the “bright and morning star.” How can you let His Word
penetrate the dense canopy of your life and shine through? Reflect upon what needs to be
removed so He can come in and give you His peace.
2. We know that God is preparing a place for us. Will you be ready to go?

Opal Leighvard, Orlando, Florida, USA

Callout: Only plants that are rooted and grounded in good soil are able to thrive
Thursday
January 3

Is It Real?

Opinion
John 14:1–3, 29; 1 Pet. 3:4

We often hear the words, “we are living in the end times” but some of us struggle to understand
the concept of these words. Some may even argue that history is repeating itself or that it didn’t
end then, why will it end now? In Peter 3:4 we see mockers and scorners say “where is the
promise of his return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the
beginning of creation” (NIV).

What makes this time any different? Well, the difference lies in the fact that the book of
Revelation is a gift that God promises to “those who read, hear, and obey” (Rev. 1:3, NIV). The
ultimate gift is Jesus Christ around Whom all prophecy evolves. Here, history is exclusively
revealed to His people enabling us to understand the past, acknowledge the present, and prepare
for the future. Jesus prophesied many times in the Bible but one that caught my attention is that
of Jesus comforting His disciples before His crucifixion. He reassures them not to worry because
He will return to take us home, to a place He will prepare for us. He not only reassures His
second coming, but He informs us “before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will
believe” (John 14:1–3, 29, NIV). This statement illustrates the significance of prophesy. God did
not give the gift to prophesy to fulfil our curiosity about the future, but to solidify our faith in
Him so that when it does come to pass, we shall believe.

Revelation further allows us to exercise our faith through His servant John where we are warned
of the end times and given hope for our future.

It is amazing to see the home Jesus has prepared for us revealed to John in a vision as promised
in John 14:1–3, 29. Once again, we see prophecy informing us of the trials, tribulations, and
persecutions to come, through the letters written to the seven churches and the three angel’s
message. The book also reveals to us that a new earth will be created as a reward for those who
persevere. Christ wants each and every one of us to be saved. He doesn’t want us to be in
darkness or to be deceived. This was His mission while on earth. Therefore, He grants us the
opportunity to be aware of the future so that when it happens, not only will we believe, but we
will be ready.

REACT
1. If you were able to have a vision of your week, would you be better equipped to face the
challenges ahead?
2. Are you among the mockers and scorners? If you are, what can you do to change it?

Ugochi Nkoronye, Orlando, Florida, USA

Callout: God did not give the gift to prophesy to fulfil our curiosity about the future
Friday
January 4

One Set of Footprints

Exploration
Revelation 1–3

CONCLUDE
It is a critical time for the church and most of John’s followers have already suffered martyrdom.
John is exiled presumably in an effort to silence him. All appeared to be lost but the Lord himself
was in control. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” writes John, “and heard behind me a
great voice.” John is given foresight of the conditions of the church, the problems they would
endure and insight of God’s authority, power and love at each period. He who preserved the
early witnesses would continue to sustain those who keep the faith for we would encounter the
same suffering (Rev. 2:10). Now we can look back in hindsight at the words of this prophecy
(Rev. 1:3). Do we have enough evidence to determine if Christ is able to meet our every need?
Yes. There is no situation where He has not made sufficient provisions to help us (cf. Rev. 2:1, 8,
12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14, 21).

CONSIDER
 Applying daily affirmations that will remind you that no matter what you face, of
yourself you can do nothing but with Christ you can do everything!
 Getting charged through prayer and staying connected by reading, listening or watching
related media or text. Like. Share. Subscribe to any additional sources that you find
relevant and encouraging.
 Starting a daily blog or other type of media that speaks to the blessings in store for those
who overcome, for instance, a new name, unlocked doors that no man can shut.
Collaborate and share the message with others.
 Meditating on the goodness of God in your test of endurance. Encourage others along the
way. Think: When I’m going through my test, I know I will have a testimony in the end.
Listen to or read the words of a song that inspires you to hold fast.
 Prayerfully reading to understand and analyze prophecy. Noting the things that surprise
you or key details that you need to remember. What are some things you still don’t
understand? Get clarity. Don’t give up.
 Journaling all experiences where our all-sufficient God took care of you. Compare and
contrast your growth out of the experiences. What do you need to start, stop or save?

CONNECT
Ezekiel 33:13; Matthew 18:21–35; 24:13; Luke 8:12, 13; Luke 12:42–46; John 15:1–6;
Colossians 3:4; Hebrews 10:38; Revelation 3:5.
Joe Crews, Can a Saved Man Choose to be Lost (Amazing Facts).
Doug Batchelor, Compromise, Conformity and Courage (Amazing Facts).
Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 57, “The Revelation.”

Althea Dixon, Orlando, Florida, USA


lesson two
January 5‒11

Among the Lampstands

“ ‘To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat
down with My Father on His throne’ ” (Revelation 3:21, NKJV).
Sabbath
January 5

A Revelation of…

Introduction
Rev. 1:9–3:22

I love reading really good detective mystery stories. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock
Holmes and Dr. Watson, wrote over 50 short stories featuring the adventures of the famous
detective and his sidekick. Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in 1887 in the novel A
Study in Scarlet. This first novel recounts the first meeting of Holmes and Watson with Dr.
Watson being absolutely astounded by Sherlock’s understanding of chemistry, geology and
botany as well as his ability to formulate hypothesis using deductive reasoning. Soon, the pair
would be investigating the first of what would become an epic series of fictional murder
mysteries that have enthralled readers for over a century now. In the course of investigating this
first murder, Holmes tells Watson; “There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the
colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”1

Doyle’s tales of the great Sherlock Holmes have stood the test of time because of Doyle’s
beautiful writing, masterful storytelling ability, and because people connect with the detective’s
ability to use his intellect to unravel difficult cases. I can’t help but be reminded of the book of
Revelation here. Many faithful Bible reading Christians have shunned a deep reading of
Revelation because of its mysterious imagery and complex interworking. Many have viewed the
book as ‘sealed,’ full of secrets too great for the common reader’s intellect. However, what if
rather than being intimidated by its complexities, we approach the book as a great cosmic
mystery novel. Ellen White viewed the book as essential reading for everyone saying that “the
book of Revelation must be opened to the people. Many have been taught that it is a sealed book;
but it is sealed only to those who reject light and truth.”2 In fact, even in the name, Revelation,
somewhat of a mystery is revealed. The book of Revelation is just that, a revelation of Jesus
Christ and the events that will characterize His soon coming. What a thrilling book to read,
study, decode, and cherish.

This week, as you explore the first few chapters of Revelation, understand that it is no mere
fictional mystery story. It is a thrilling account of Jesus’s plan for our world and for the heavenly
home that He is preparing for us. Gaining deeper insights and understandings of this book is
much more exhilarating than any non-fiction novel. It is gripping because it is real, relevant, and
a vital read for the world today.

Emma L. Harper, Enumclaw, WA, USA

Callout: What if rather than being intimidated by its complexities, we approach the book as a
great cosmic mystery novel.

1
A. Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, p. 40.
2
Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 195.
Sunday
January 6

The Holy Island of Patmos

Evidence
Rev. 1:9

Today, the Greek Island of Patmos is a top tourist destination located in the Dodecanese group of
Greek islands. Often called the Isle of the Apocalypse, Patmos is home to an archaeological site
called the Cave of the Apocalypse. It is believed to have housed John while he was imprisoned
there. In the 10th century, a monastery was built on this site and has been a center for Greek
Orthodox learning ever since. Each year, tens of thousands of Christian tourists pay homage to
the history and significance of this place. In 1999, UNESCO designated the Cave of the
Apocalypse a World Heritage Site, lending it the formal significance that Christian believers
have recognized for centuries.

It is not only Christians that travel to Patmos on pilgrimages to visit this biblically significant
site. Patmos is also frequented by cruise ships filled with tourists seeking island adventures and
looking to enjoy pristine beaches. Great restaurants, unique shops, swimming pools and resort
hotels characterize much of the tourist activity on modern day Patmos. But, this is a far cry from
what was happening there two thousand years ago.

In John’s day, Patmos was a remote island under Roman rule. This rocky and desolate island is
small, just over 60 square miles in total area and nearly devoid of society. It was a perfect island
for the Romans to operate a prison. It was to Patmos, the Alcatraz of the ancient world, that the
Roman Empire sent prisoners that they wanted banished from society. In the year AD95, the
Roman Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus sent the apostle John to this island to silence his
evangelistic efforts. The Greco-Roman world was incredibly receptive to the new message of
Jesus Christ, so much so that the Roman elite felt threatened by the fast spreading movement.

Since the time of John, this tiny island has been invaded and occupied by the Turks, ransacked
several times by Norman pirates, was a holy destination targeted by the Crusades, and in more
recent history, occupied by both the Italians and then the Nazis during World War II. There is no
question that this tiny island has had an impact, disproportionate to its size, on the world. It is a
historical irony that the very place that was intended to silence the ministry of the apostle John
served as a launching pad for the Lord’s final message to the world.

Craig Mattson, Lake Tapps, WA, USA

Callout: This tiny island has had an impact, disproportionate to its size, on the world.
Monday
January 7

Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Logos
Dan. 1:1–21; Rev. 1:9–11

The opening scenes of the book of Revelation find the faithful disciple John imprisoned on the
Isle of Patmos. He was sentenced to this fate because of his widespread success in proclaiming
the gospel throughout the Roman world. The Patmos prison experience was meant to silence his
powerful message. But the Roman authorities could not have been more wrong.

The opening passages of Revelation bear a striking resemblance to the opening passages in the
book of Daniel. Daniel chapter one opens with a siege on the city of Jerusalem. King
Nebuchadnezzar took several captives including Daniel. Despite his captivity, Daniel remained
faithful to the Lord.

While the siege on Jerusalem was taking place, Daniel was probably scared for his life and
perhaps confused. Similarly, John’s state of mind while he was being tried, sentenced, and then
transported to a prison island must have felt deep strain. Yet, it was through these hardships that
God gave us the complimentary hope-filled works of Daniel and Revelation.

There is a very powerful lesson here about the Christian experience, staying faithful to the Lord,
and trusting Him to turn our dark moments into transcendent and eternal lessons. We see here a
revelation of Jesus as a personal and loving God who is there through it all, carrying us even
through life’s dark valleys.

The Lord’s Day (Exod. 31:13; Isa. 58:13; Matt. 12:8; Rev. 1:10)
When theologians discuss eschatology, they are discussing that part of theology that deals with
death, judgment, and the events surrounding the end time. The book of Revelation, and a
companion book Daniel, are eschatological books, painting a picture through imagery of the
events of the end time.

It is the eschatological nature of these books that has led scholars to debate the meaning of the
term “the Lord’s Day” used in Revelation 1:10. Does this term refer to the Sabbath day? Or, does
this term point forward to the great day of the second coming of Jesus Christ? Whichever side of
the scholarly debate you may be on, the beautiful thing is that both arguments are a revelation of
Jesus Christ. The first argument, the Sabbath, is a weekly revelation of Jesus Christ in our lives.
A day set aside by God, for man, from the very beginning of creation in this world. The second
argument, the second coming of Jesus Christ, represents the final and most dramatic revelation of
Jesus Christ. The day that the sons and daughters of this earth will finally reunited with our
heavenly Father.

Jesus Revealed (Rev. 1:12–17)


As fascinating as the debate regarding the Lord’s Day may be, what happens to John next
literally defies description. It’s been difficult for me to imagine what it was like. We know that
he was observing Jesus. But the Jesus in my mind’s eye usually doesn’t have feet of glowing
bronze, a voice like rushing waters, or a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth. But it
seems John really had a difficult time articulating his vision. Amidst this colorful imagery the
words “like“ and “as” are repeatedly used associating what he was seeing with human tangibles,
but also suggesting that the vision of the Lord that he witnessed was beyond linguistic
description. What a beautiful revelation of Jesus Christ in His post-resurrection glory.

The location of where Jesus Christ was standing is also of vital significance. He was standing
among the lampstands. Revelation 1:20 reveals the mystery of the lampstands, they represent the
seven churches. Therefore, as John turned and beheld this vision of Jesus, He was literally with
the people of His churches. This is one of the most precious revelations of Jesus Christ. Jesus has
promised to be with us, and with us He is. A further investigation of Revelation reveals that these
churches are not only the seven ancient Christian churches of Asia-minor; they are also types of
the Christian churches throughout history, right up to today. So, when John reports that he saw
the Son of Man among the lampstands; Jesus Himself is communicating with us that He is right
here, with us, in our church today.

Jesus and His Churches (Jer. 2:2; Rev. 2:1–7)


It is important to remember when reading Revelation 2 that the “names of the seven churches are
symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number 7 indicates
completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time, while the
symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the world.”1

John begins Revelation 2 with a direct call to the seven churches. This first call to the church in
Ephesus begins with revealing only a part of the full vision of Christ given in Revelation 1:12–
16; “These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among
the seven lampstands.” Wait, what about the feet of glowing bronze or the double-edged sword?

As the second chapter of Revelation unfolds, John uses only segments of his full vision of Christ
to communicate with the seven churches. This is strategic and deeply symbolic of Christ meeting
us where we are. Each church had its own unique challenges and thus needed to have Christ
presented to them in a slightly different way. As we grapple with life we can be assured that
Jesus will always be with us, among the people of His church, and ready to meet us where we
are. This is how Revelation reveals Jesus.

REACT
1. In what other ways to do you see Jesus being revealed in the opening three chapters of
Revelation? What parts of Jesus are revealed to the other six churches? Why?
2. Apply John’s Patmos experience to your life. What similarities can you draw from trusting in
the Lord through dark experiences?

Daniel Perez, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

1
Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 585.
Callout: Jesus Himself is communicating with us that He is right here, with us, in our church
today.
Tuesday
January 8

A Critical Ending

Testimony
Rev. 1:1–20

“In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm.
So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding
fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth.
The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of
inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age.”2

“But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one
another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which
they had received the truth.”3

“In exiling John, the enemies of truth had hoped to silence forever the voice of God’s faithful
witness; but on Patmos the disciple received a message, the influence of which was to continue
to strengthen the church till the end of time. Though not released from the responsibility of their
wrong act, those who banished John became instruments in the hands of God to carry out
Heaven’s purpose; and the very effort to extinguish the light placed the truth in bold relief.”4

“This revelation was given for the guidance and comfort of the church throughout the Christian
dispensation. . . . It is ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto
His servants things which must shortly come to pass.’ ‘Blessed is he that readeth,’ the Lord
declares, ‘and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written
therein: for the time is at hand.’”5

“In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired
pages, ‘the Revelation,’ contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is
something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this
book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those
living in the last days of this earth’s history, as well as to those living in the days of John.”6

REACT
1. What similarities can you see between the Christian world in John’s day and ours?
2. In what ways have you seen God take bad situations and turn them into blessings?
3. When facing challenging situations, what strength and inspiration can you draw from John’s
experience and the authorship of the book of Revelation?

2
Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 578.
3
Ibid., p. 580.
4
Ibid., p. 581.
5
Ibid., p. 583.
6
Ibid., p. 584.
M. Lizzette Harper, Lake Tapps, WA, USA

Callout: A revelation is something revealed.


Wednesday
January 9

Revelation Today

How-to
Rev. 1:9–18; 2:2–19

It can sometimes be hard to derive practical day-to-day lessons from the complex narrative in the
book of Revelation. However, as a revelation of Jesus Christ, Revelation can present to its
readers some very plain and practical biblical principles to live by.

Remember the Sabbath day: Revelation 1:10 reveals to us that the Lord spoke to John on the
Sabbath, ‘the Lord’s day.’ The significance of the Sabbath day is found throughout Scripture
with its relevance highlighted again here in the experience of John. Seek to make the Sabbath a
special day, a unique experience, and a day of true rest and rejuvenation in Christ. Set up
Sabbath traditions. Select a playlist of Sabbath only musical selections, and create a home
atmosphere that is distinctive to the Sabbath with special fragrances or meals.

Seek to form deep relationships: Throughout the book of Revelation, as God is describing the
characteristics of His churches. He tells each church, “I know you.” God knows us independently
and fully and has communicated this to us through the book of Revelation. As we model Christ
and seek to be more Christ-like in our daily lives, we need to seek deep and meaningful
relationships with those around us.

Love your church: The book of Revelation may be confusing at times, but there is one truth that
is without question: Jesus loves the church and is concerned about her wellbeing. As defined in
the New Testament, the church is the body of Christ, the people that accept the message of Jesus
and choose to live by His Word. You are part of the church that is discussed in Revelation and
treasured by God. This should elicit a deep commitment to the church body as a public
expression of your faith.

Listen: In Revelation chapter two, the Lord says to the church in Ephesus “Whoever has ears, let
them hear what the spirit says to the churches” (2:7, NIV). By committing to daily devotions and
a committed prayer life, we can begin to tune into the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives. There
is an intentional and faithful commitment that is needed for the Christian to hear and respond to
the Lord. God’s instruction in Revelation is both direct and practical for a daily application.

Kevin Henderson, Auburn, WA, USA

Callout: You are part of the church that is discussed in Revelation and treasured by God.
Thursday
January 10

The Heart of a Christian

Opinion
Rev. 1:9

Have you ever had a true wilderness experience? I am not speaking of camping or a nice nature
hike, I am talking about a real biblical wilderness experience. It is interesting that so many
biblical characters found themselves passing through deep existential wilderness experiences.
Joseph was cast off by his brothers and ended up imprisoned; Moses was led into the wilderness
for 40 years of spiritual training; David had a wilderness experience as he was being hunted by
King Saul; and even the ministry of Jesus included a critical wilderness experience of 40 days
after which He was tempted by Satan.

John’s wilderness experience on the prison Island of Patmos provided a setting for God to reveal
Himself to us all through John’s captivity. I don’t know if John was ever tempted to give up as
he was being imprisoned, but I know that if I were in John’s shoes the temptation to give up
would have been real. John’s experience was no small setback. After working tirelessly to
advance the message of Jesus Christ in the Roman world, John found himself imprisoned and
isolated away from those he wished to carry the good news to. How demoralizing that must have
been. Yet even through this, John’s heart and soul were dedicated to his Lord; and when God
spoke, John’s heart was open and he was able to hear.

There is a very practical lesson in John’s experience that we can apply to our lives today—keep
pushing forward in Jesus. What I am talking about here is much more than a daily commitment
to prayer and devotion. These things are critical in the life of a Christian, but there will be days
when devotions are rushed and skipped, and days when prayer may seem like a hopeless ritual.
Life can become very dark and we have all been there at one point or another. I think John was
there as the reality of his banishment set in and he realized that where he was going, there would
be little opportunity to advance his ministry.

At some point, we all arrive on a metaphorical Patmos in life. Experiences like financial ruin,
relationship problems, falling to temptations, or life’s failures may tempt us to give up our faith.
But, like John, the faithful can be assured that even through suffering, God has a grander plan
that we are unaware of. And while our tribulation in this world may be severe, it is also
temporary and small when compared with the eternity that has been promised us.

REACT
1. What kind of hard experiences has life thrown at you? Looking back now, how have these
experiences contributed to your overall maturity and spiritual development?
2. Is there someone in your life that is going through challenging times? How can you be of
service to them?

Meggan N. Harper, Enumclaw, Washington, USA


Callout: John’s experience was no small setback.
Friday
January 11

John’s Revelation and Message to Us

Exploration
Revelation 1

CONCLUDE
The book of Revelation was given to us by God through John while he was imprisoned on the
Island of Patmos. Revelation is a highly symbolic book that can be a struggle to read and
understand, but remember that the symbols were inspired. The first three chapters of the book
address the struggles of the churches in John’s day as well as providing a prophetic profile of the
churches that would exist throughout Christian history. Revelation is not only highly symbolic, it
draws heavily upon language and themes from the Old Testament. Ultimately, the book of
Revelation reveals the character and work of Jesus Christ.

CONSIDER
 Creating a list of names for Jesus that you can keep in your Bible as you read through this
quarter’s lessons and study the book of Revelation.
 Making a list of the promises that each church in Revelation 2 and 3 is given. Take note
of how many promises are offered by Jesus to each church.
 Getting acquainted with the person of John by reading the chapter called “Patmos” in the
Ellen White book Acts of the Apostles.
 Writing a letter of support for your local pastor, school teacher, principal, or conference
official. Encouraging them and uplifting their ministry. Combine this with a pledge to
keep their ministry in prayer.
 Compiling a playlist of songs based on the book of Revelation. Take time to listen to
several them and identify the connections you hear to the book of Revelation.
 Taking some time to research artists’ depictions of this scene and then create your own
artistic representation of John’s vision of Christ.

CONNECT
Exodus 25:37; Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 58:13; Daniel 1, 2; John 10:11; Revelation 17:14. Ellen G.
White, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 57, “The Revelation.”
Ranko Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the Book of Revelation. Seth J.
Pierce, What We Believe: Revelation for Teens.

Craig Mattson, Lake Tapps, Washington, USA


lesson three
January 12–18

God’s People in Cities

“ ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ ” (Revelation 3:22,
NKJV).
Sabbath
January 12

Do I Want to Hear This?

Introduction
Rev. 3:19

“I’m only telling you this because I care...” I cannot count the number of times some version of
these words attempted to cushion a critique or piece of advice that hurt me, sometimes shocked
me, but often (begrudgingly) set me on a better path.

Let’s be honest, the only people who are safe to give you the kind of talking-to that involves
those words are the ones you have a trusting relationship with. I have received it from my
parents, from teachers who expected better, from doctors who recognize that correcting behavior
early is better than paying later, and from my husband.

How about you? Have you heard those words from someone you love and trust?

It should come as no surprise that Jesus used the same method when addressing the churches of
John’s day. After all, this is the same Jesus who compared God’s relationship with His followers
to many of the same relationships as above—our Father, the great physician, a teacher, a
bridegroom. In Revelation 3:19, His message to Laodicea, Jesus says the words that we all
recognize from our own lives: “I correct and punish those whom I love. So be eager to do right,
and change your hearts and lives” (NCV).

The heavy themes in the book of Revelation are certainly not ideal for breezing through in a
quick devotion. Christ’s messages to the churches are no exception. The accusations of
misdeeds, sins, and immorality are met with threats of life, and death, without redemption. In
comparison, the promises of victory and worthiness seem like distant goals.

It’s the simple words of love in the midst of the criticism, calculation of sins, and reprimands that
shine a light on the true nature of Christ in these messages. He didn’t want the church to turn
away from their lukewarm nature and worldly wealth for His own vanity or gain. He wanted
them to experience everything that life could offer if they followed Him wholly. He wanted them
to share in the Kingdom by His side and share His throne! Just like a parent, a teacher, a doctor,
a spouse, it’s love that makes Him want better from them.

Do you want to know the very best part? He wants the same for us! Keep that in mind when you
study Scripture—look for the messages that speak to you sharply or the words that set you off
balance. I challenge you to look at those passages again knowing that Jesus corrects those He
loves. Like me, you may then find the eagerness to do right that will truly change your heart and
life.

Ashley Eisele, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA


Callout: He wanted them to experience everything that life could offer if they followed Him
wholly
Sunday
January 13

Church Secrets From Under the Carpet

Logos
Dan. 2:27, 28, 47; Matt. 13:35; Rev. 3:6; 22:16

Secrets Revealed In Old Testament (Dan. 2:27, 28, 47)


We already know that the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is for the purpose of revealing
who Jesus is and what He will be doing. In this regard, it functions the same as prophecy
elsewhere. Both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed it. “The secret which the king has
demanded, the wise men…cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals
secrets…” “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets”
(Dan. 2:27, 28, 47, NKJV). The book of Daniel was sealed until the end times.

Jesus Uncovered Secrets from the Foundation (Matt. 13:35)


Jesus began to reveal some of God’s secrets when He spoke in parables. He told the disciples, “I
will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world”
(Matt. 13:35, NKJV). “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of
heaven” (Matt. 13:11, NKJV). He also promised that “nothing is secret that will not be revealed,
nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you
hear” (Luke 8:17, 18, NJV). It is interesting how He warned caution in how we hear.

Hearing Secrets Is Not Always Gossip (Rev. 3:6)


Even though there were seven different messages to seven different churches, every message was
intended for every church. Each one included the admonition, “He who has an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.” They were not only to hear what was said to their own
church, but to all the churches. We, like they, have the blessing of being reminded in powerful
end-time fashion just what snares are being laid for us by the evil one.

The letters had to be very difficult for many in the churches to receive. The realization that their
secret sins were known by God to such a degree that He was dealing with them in this manner
may have been frightening. Some would certainly have simply faded away, seeing that their lives
were open books. Others would have taken the warnings to heart.

As we analyze the messages, we find that Jesus was able to meet the needs of each church,
regardless of their situation. Surely, He can meet our needs today, as well. He tells us He wants
us to be in Heaven. We must not be satisfied with our self-made imaginary heaven. Allow Him
to change even your goodness into His image in you.

The letters to the churches were written, firstly, to get everything out in the open. They would be
placed in a situation where they would confess and surrender to Him or cling to their sins to the
point of their own eternal peril. Secondly, they were to let the members of those historic
churches know that God knew them intimately. He was aware of their failings, and loved them
deeply enough to seek their salvation.
The cultures of the churches were different from each other. Jesus pointed to His ability to meet
their different struggles and situations. His self-introduction tells us about the particular
characteristic He possesses to be able to resolve the issues we face. Jesus gives an appraisal of
the church and then counsels the church how to get out of its predicaments. Finally, each
message concludes with an appeal to hear the Spirit and with promises to the overcomers.

For The Last Time, Listen (Rev. 22:16)


To the people of each church, there is a lesson that God wants us to take personally. We are not
to be satisfied with whatever goodness we feel we have or that others think we have. God knows
better. He sees into our hearts and motives. Give up what is valuable to you, even what is good in
the eyes of God which keeps you from coming higher because you count it to yourself as
sufficient. Give it up that you may receive what is truly saving that only Jesus can give you.

The issues and solutions discussed were not necessarily intended to keep the people of these
churches from suffering. They were to know that God was aware of their suffering, allowed it to
continue, and promised salvation to those who would endure. This message is given in seven
different ways. If we are listening, every person can find at least one message directed
specifically to ourselves. In Revelation 22:16 we have a final appeal from Jesus. He says, “I,
Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches” (NKJV). We must listen
to the messages to all the churches.

REACT
1. Look at yourself as God might look at you. Which of these church messages seems to be
directed specifically to you? How will you use the prescription in that message to let Jesus
prepare you for Heaven?
2. Since so much was made of how we hear, analyze the way you hear what God is saying. Are
you hearing it through the experience and culture of a local or national church? What should you
do to be sure you have a personal connection with God?

Gary R. Wagner, Union Springs, New York, USA

Callout: The letters had to be very difficult for many in the churches to receive.
Monday
January 14

The Communicating Christ

Testimony
Rev. 2:1

“The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian
Era. The number 7 indicates completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend
to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods
in the history of the word.

“Christ is spoken of as walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Thus is symbolized His
relation to the churches. He is in constant communication with His people. He knows their true
state. He observes their order, their piety, their devotion. Although He is high priest and mediator
in the sanctuary above, yet He is represented as walking up and down in the midst of His
churches on the earth. With untiring wakefulness and unremitting vigilance, He watches to see
whether the light of any of His sentinels is burning dim or going out. If the candlesticks were left
to mere human care, the flickering flame would languish and die; but He is the true watchman in
the Lord's house, the true warden of the temple courts. His continued care and sustaining grace
are the source of life and light.

“Christ is represented as holding the seven stars in His right hand. This assures us that no church
faithful to its trust need fear coming to nought, for not a star that has the protection of
Omnipotence can be plucked out of the hand of Christ.

“These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand." Revelation 2:1. These
words are spoken to the teachers in the church--those entrusted by God with weighty
responsibilities. The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with
God's ministers, who are to reveal the love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under His control.
He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If He did not do this, they would
become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hands, and all the
good they accomplish is done through His power. Through them His light is to shine forth. The
Saviour is to be their efficiency. If they will look to Him as He looked to the Father they will be
enabled to do His work. As they make God their dependence, He will give them His brightness
to reflect to the world.”11

REACT
1. We cannot see Jesus face-to-face, yet we believe that Christ communicates with His believers
today. How would you explain this to a friend who is a non-believer?
2. Which of the churches of Revelation is your spiritual walk most like today? Do you need to
make a change? What can you do to change the path you are walking?

Jordan Wagner, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA


11
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 585–587.
Callout: His continued care and sustaining grace are the source of life and light.
Tuesday
January 15

Getting to Know You

Evidence
Isa. 43:1, 2

The seven churches of Revelation were located in Asia Minor and bordered by the Black Sea to
the North, the Aegean Sea to the West and the Mediterranean Sea to the South. Today, this
region is part of present-day Turkey.

These cities once were thriving, vibrant locations, where people lived, worked, and raised
families. Understanding more of their history helps us to understand why their spiritual problems
and the solutions are highlighted in the Book of Revelation.

Located at the junction of a trade route, Ephesus was famous for the Temple of Artemis (Diana).
Paul visited this city during his second journey (Acts 18:8) and returned during his third journey
and spent two years here (Acts 19). Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos all ministered here (Acts
18:24–28). Believers there began their Christian walk by burning all sorcery books (Acts 19:17,
18), and they were blessed with responsible elders (Acts 20:28).

Smyrna, a flourishing trade port, was located 40 miles north of Ephesus. Smyrna (modern day
Izmir) was famous for culture, arts, and religion. Some of its residents, particularly Christians,
suffered poverty and reproach (Rev. 2:9.10).

Pergamum was located 40 miles north of Smyrna and 20 miles from the Sea. Today, it is called
Bergama. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon, during the Attalid dynasty.

Sardis, located 50 miles east of Smyrna, thought itself immune to invasion. In 546 BC, Cyrus
made Sardis the seat of a Persian satrap. Overconfidence and lack of operational security
weakened the city. The Athenians burned it in 499 BC. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded
and in 214 BC Antiochus the Great invaded.

Philadelphia was built by Attalus II Philadelphus and located just twenty-seven miles southeast
of Sardis. Situated on the Plains of Hermus and on part of Mt. Tmolus, today know as Allah
shehr. Remains of walls, temples and buildings still exist today

Thyatira, a small city located midway between Pergamos and Sardis, was famous for its purple
dye. Lydia, mentioned in Acts 16 was from here.

Laodicea, located 56 miles far southeast of Smyrna was a major import and banking center of the
region. Garments of local black wool and the seat of a medical school with a specialty in
ophtalmia, which is a condition of severe inflammation of the eyes.

REACT
1. Why is it important to understand what the citizens of each of these cities faced in their day-
to-day lives and how that could impact their acceptance or rejection of the story of Jesus?
2. Imagine a time in the future (500 years or more). What would observers say about how events
and other societal influences impacted Christians of today’s world?

Callie Neal, Moore, Kansas, USA

Callout: Understanding more of their history helps us to understand why their spiritual problems
and the solutions are highlighted in the Book of Revelation.
Wednesday
January 16

Their Message—My Message

How-to
Matt. 10:22; Eph. 3:16, 17; Col. 3:17; Rev 2, 3

Each of the seven churches of Revelation possesses a message for us today. Although five of the
seven churches received a rebuke, God also praised those groups for their early manifestations of
faith. God wanted them to know they were not without hope if they made a change. So it is with
us.

Philadelphia possessed love—a reflection of God’s character. Our love for others allows us to
reveal the true character of God to those who may not know Him.

Jesus warned His followers that they would be hated because of their love for Him. If we follow
the counsel given to Smyrna, we will not fear what we may suffer. If we are faithful, even in the
face of death, we will receive life.

Ephesus forgot her first love and the fervor for sharing the gospel. Have you fallen into this same
mindset? Spending time in consistent Bible and prayer are the path to re-establishing your
relationship and feeling the excitement you first experienced in your Christian walk.

In the early days, Pergamos held firm to their belief in Jesus and didn’t deny their faith.
Encouraged to repent, they were promised to receive the hidden manna. What hidden manna is
God waiting to provide in your life?

Thyatira exhibited love, faith, patience, and good works. Do you savor the ministry that you are
given to share Jesus with others? Have you thought about the patience you exhibit and the good
works you do?

Are events in your life taking a toll? Is this weakening your faith? Adopt the counsel to Sardis
and be watchful and strengthen what little remains. Look forward to the time when you will be
dressed in white raiment.

Laodicea did not receive any commendation. God noted they were spiritually poor, blind, and
naked. Even with such a condemnation, God gave them hopeful counsel. With repentance and
accepting God’s redeeming power, we are justified by faith. No matter how far we wander from
God, He waits for us to come to Him and accept His gift.

Adopt the best traits of the seven churches, and stand side-by-side with Jesus as you eat from the
tree of life while wearing the golden crown made especially for you.

REACT
1. Which of the seven churches do you feel most represents your spiritual walk today? What
counsel given do you need to implement in your life?
2. The churches of Revelation show how people fall away from God.. How can we apply the
counsel of reform given in Revelation 2 and 3 without appearing legalistic?

Randolph Farley, Cottonwood, Kansas, USA

Callout: If we are faithful, even in the face of death, we will receive life.
Thursday
January 17

Second Chance God

Opinion
Isa. 40:28; Gal. 6:9

Have you ever felt that the focus on the seven churches in Revelation was purely negative? Yet
the gospel is in the verses that outline the spiritual failings of these churches.

Ephesus wandered away from its first love, but before that it was patient, hated the deeds of false
teachers, and did not give up. Pergamum held firm in their belief in Jesus and for a time did not
deny the faith. Thyatira possessed love, faith, patience, and good works. In Sardis, undefiled
believers were strong in their faith. The Laodecians received no commendation at all. Too caught
up in their world, it appears they did not even realize they were spiritually poor, blind, and
naked. The believers in Smyrna and Philadelphia faced persecution and witnessed to others.
Although they did not receive a reproof, they were counseled to remain faithful unto death and to
hold fast to their faith.

Five of the seven churches received reproofs for becoming distracted from what they were called
to do—share the story of Jesus and remain faithful to Him. God did not cast them off entirely. He
provided them with counsel for how they could return to Him. With that return comes a promise
of a renewed relationship that can be eternal if the believers so choose.

The counsel included repentance, remaining faithful even if it meant death, holding fast to the
faith held, continue to be watchful, and be zealous. The promised rewards of a crown of life,
white raiment, names written in the Book of life and to sit with Christ on His throne and eat with
Him should make repentance and faithfulness attractive.

Have you become weary in your walk with Christ and distracted by the world’s constant
clamoring for your attention? Have you lost the first love you experienced when you accepted
Jesus into your heart and life? Are you facing ridicule by family and friends for your beliefs?
Remember, there are those who have gone before and have faced these same things.

The world we live in is becoming increasingly evil. It may seem like the devil is winning on all
sides. But we must remember that the war has been won, even though it seems like the heavens
may fall. Our spiritual strength is based on our relationship with Christ.

The churches receiving reproof allowed themselves to be pulled away from their focus on Christ.
They were given a chance to return. That’s good news! The God we serve is one of second, third,
fourth chances, and more. He doesn’t give up on us because He loves us.

REACT
1. How can your fervor die as time passes and you are further away from your baptism?
2. Why does being engaged in evangelism help us to be strong in our faith?
Deena Bartel-Wagner, Collegedale, Tennessee

Callout: He doesn’t give up on us because He loves us.


Friday
January 18

There Will be a Day

Exploration
Rev. 3:22

CONCLUDE
The book of Revelation is fascinating. While Jesus focused on writing letters to each of the seven
churches, the letters were also meant for us. How can letters that are thousands of years old be
meant for us who live now? Today, each church around the globe has its own difficulties and
trials. Some churches suffer from persecution. Others have difficulties with staying afloat
financially. There are those which are no longer reaching out to their community.

Whatever your church is going through, there is hope. As cliché as it may seem, it is important to
remember that Jesus does offer us a life with Him if we continue to be faithful even when the
going gets tough.

CONSIDER
 Listening to the song “There Will Be a Day” by Jeremy Camp. Focus on the hope that we
have for that great day.
 Writing a prayer about God’s promises for those who are faithful and read His Word
during the end of time.
 Using a website like BibleGateway.org and find four Bible verses that talk about listening
to God’s Word during trials. Write these out by hand and review them during your
personal devotional time.
 Sharing with a friend how God has met your needs like He did for the seven churches.
 Setting time aside time daily to read about each of the seven churches. Reflect on how
Jesus has been working in your own church.
 Writing a poem about what how to watch for Christ’s return.

CONNECT
Revelation 1:3; 3:3, 22

Ashley M. Wagner, Union Springs, New York


lesson four
January 19‒25

The Enthronement of the Lamb

“ ‘To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat
down with My Father on His throne’ ” (Revelation 3:21, NKJV).
Sabbath
January 19

Take a Look Through the Open Door

Introduction
Rev. 4:1

Why did some people in ancient times bow down to a wooden statue or an idol made of metal? I
just don’t get it. They thought that the object represented a spirit that could help them. “Oh Baal,
hear us.” They wanted to see something they could pray to. But they had no proof of a god, and
it seems so futile.

Contrast that with the scenes of Revelation 4 and 5. The apostle John describes his visit to see
the throne room of the God we worship. John’s human limitations kept him from doing justice to
the scene, but he gives it a valiant try.

In comparison to some other parts of Revelation, these chapters don’t have much action. They
seem to not be part of a narrative that’s taking us somewhere. But they are a very important
glimpse into the reality of what it is like to be physically in the presence of God. We need to look
carefully at the picture God reveals of Himself and His Son Jesus in the sanctuary where the
Godhead is working.

Visualize the moments described in Acts 1:9–11. Jesus lifted off the ground and left this earth,
went up into the sky, and flew back to heaven. In Revelation 5:6 and onward, we see the place
where Jesus went after He left us, even down to the details of where He is standing and who is
with Him.

Among the things to look for in these chapters, you’ll want to find out who are the “elders”
seated on thrones around the throne of God. And who are the four living creatures? Why are they
in God’s presence all the time? They praise God constantly. Why would they do that? What do
their praises signify? And what’s the deal with the emerald rainbow? In chapter 5, we read about
the scroll that nobody can open, and who gets to open it. What is the scroll? Find out why it has
seven seals, and what happens when the Son of God opens it.

As the opening verses of the book of Hebrews tell us, God spoke to us through the prophets long
ago. But Revelation 4 and 5 show us more than a message. They are as close as we get to a video
of what God and Jesus look like and what they are doing. We get to see the Godhead working on
our behalf, and why He deserves our worship.

Tim Lale, Bowie, Maryland, USA

Callout: We get to see the Godhead working on our behalf, and why He deserves our worship.
Sunday
January 20

And the Glory Goes to…

Evidence
Rev. 4:4

Revelation 1–3 may seem relatively straightforward. But once you hit chapter 4, the word
“weird” might come to mind. A Being like jasper and sardius, twenty-four elders sitting in
surrounding thrones, four living creatures covered in eyes….

What has most fascinated me in this weird chapter is the twenty-four elders—strange in how
normal they sound compared to the other more peculiar characters (Rev. 4:4). No semblance to
precious jewels, no chimeric features, no 360˚ line of sight. Just white garments, golden crowns,
and twenty-four thrones. Who are these elders? What do they represent? What is their purpose?

There is no indication in Scripture or Jewish tradition of angels taking the title of elder. But both
sources reference humans as elders. The elders here also sit on thrones, suggestive of sharing
God’s throne, while angels are usually depicted as standing in God’s presence. The elders’ white
robes and victory crowns are characteristic of the victorious saints (cf. Rev. 3:4, 5; James 1:12).
All this evidence suggests that the twenty-four elders are not angels but humans. The elders,
then, are symbolic of humanity itself, namely those who have experienced salvation.

The number of elders is also symbolic. Twelve is often used to represent completeness. The
twelve tribes of Israel symbolize God’s people in the Old Testament, the twelve apostles
symbolize God’s people in the New. And in the New Jerusalem, there are twelve gates for each
of the twelve tribes of Israel and twelve foundations for each of the twelve apostles (Rev. 21:12–
14).

With the four living creatures and the heavenly host, the twenty-four elders join in the worship of
God. They cast their victory crowns at His feet, acknowledging that their spiritual victory was all
due to God. They praise the Father as the only One worthy of worship as Creator and Sustainer
of all things. And in chapter 5, their praise extends to Jesus as the only One worthy to open the
scroll as Savior of humanity.

The twenty-four elders remind us of our ultimate purpose as humans: to bring glory to our
Creator and Redeemer (Rev. 14:7). How much of what we do brings glory to the One who
brought us into existence and who gave His life for us? Think of who God really is to you, and
let Him bring you to your knees in worship, giving Him all the glory.

REACT
1. What areas in your life bring more glory to yourself than to God?
2. How can you give God glory as your Creator and Redeemer?

Chelsy Tyler, Westminster, Maryland, USA


Callout: The twenty-four elders remind us of our ultimate purpose as humans: to bring glory to
our Creator and Redeemer
Monday
January 21

Scroll-Taker, Seal-Breaker

Logos
1 Kings 8:62–66; Isa. 6:18; Ezekiel 1; Heb. 10:1–18; Revelation 4, 5

The magnificent splendor of heaven is on full display in Revelation 4 and 5. Beyond that, these
chapters take us smack into the climactic heart of the heavenly plan of redemption. We’re in
God’s throne room itself, where Jesus has returned from a human odyssey that found the weight
of human destiny falling upon His weary shoulders. We stand in wonder as we witness the
breathless citizens of heaven as they, too, observe the astonishing final events surrounding
heaven’s rescue plan. We see beasts, a glass-like sea, a heart-stopping rainbow, and many other
head-spinning symbols of God’s character, creation, and salvation activities.

Where Have I Seen This Before? (Heb. 4:14–16)


Jesus was hardly a prodigal son, but His return to heaven following His (successful) earthly
odyssey was marked with great ceremony. After all, this was the beginning of His heavenly
ministry, in which He became our direct connection to all of heaven’s bounties and redeeming
grace (Heb. 4:14–16). No longer would a lamb be slain in humanity’s behalf. The Lamb of God
had been sacrificed once for all!

The setting for Revelation 4 and 5 is “ground zero” for our ultimate redemption—God’s throne
room itself. The featured scenes are replete with sanctuary imagery. Specifically, these chapters
bear the marks of Solomon’s temple inauguration (1 Kings 8:62–66). Another clear allusion to
the earthly sanctuary system is found in Revelation 4:6–8. The four living creatures mentioned
there find their counterpart in 1 Kings 6:23–28. As for the 24 elders? Some believe they
represent those resurrected with Jesus (cf. Matt. 27:52, 53; Eph. 4:8). But there is another
possibility. It turns out there were 24 courses of priests back in sanctuary times (1 Chron. 24:1–
19). Those 24 heavenly elders take a definitive action in Revelation 4:9–11. Here we see them
fall to their knees, cast their crowns at Jesus’s feet, and sing a powerful praise song to the
ultimate High Priest! We do well to follow their lead as we have opportunity.

It’s hard to escape beasts in Revelation 4:6–9, we see four creatures that bring to mind the beasts
found in Ezek. 1:5–26. As for their six wings, check out Isaiah 6:2. In Bible symbolism, wings
typically indicate “the speed with which God’s heavenly messengers execute their errands.”1 By
the way, some commentators view the “eyes” of these beasts as referring to a Hebrew idiom for
brightness, which can also mean intelligence.

Above are just a few of the striking similarities to the sanctuary services and Old Testament
writings. The more you read, the more it becomes clear that this whole thing was by divine
design.

1
Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957) p.
768.
What about That Scroll? (Rev. 5:1–8)
Have you ever had a jar of something that you could not open without a great deal of effort? The
factory had sealed that thing up tight! Well, imagine trying to open something that had been
sealed by divine hands! That’s what happened with the scroll mentioned in Revelation 5:1–8.
Nobody could open its seven seals—until the victorious and worthy Lamb, Jesus, took His place
in heaven’s throne room. Why only Jesus? Why? Because He was the only Person with the
credentials needed to save humanity!

Back to our inauguration theme and sanctuary symbolism. “In ancient Israel, whenever a new
king took the throne, he was given the scroll of the covenant.”2 In other words, like so much else
in these chapters of Revelation, the scroll scene is also sanctuary-based. The scroll here to be
opened represents the entirety of salvation history, as will be clearly seen in the next couple
chapters of Revelation.3 It is as though the breaking of each seal on the scroll christens a new
stage on which different breathtaking scenes are portrayed.

The drama associated with this section of Revelation is hard to overstate. John, the book’s
author, is in tears (Revelation 4). So just why is he crying? Because his entire adult life has been
spent serving His Savior and furthering His mission. Now, if there were ever any doubt about
whether it was worth the cost, John knows it is all true. From the bloody cross to the crystal sea,
he has seen it all, and it takes his breath away. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

REACT
1. Why are chapters four and five essential to understanding Revelation?
2. What would you say to someone who believes the Old Testament is largely irrelevant to “New
Testament Christians”?
3. What do you think are a couple of highly effective ways to share the sometimes complex
message of Revelation?

Randy Fishell, Smithsburg, Maryland, USA

Callout: Why only Jesus?

2
Seth Pierce, What We Believe: Prophecies of Revelation for Teens (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing
Association, 2013), p. 92.
3
Additional resource used: Jon Paulien, The Deep Things of God (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald
Publishing Association, 2004)
Tuesday
January 22

“The Saviour of Dunkirk”

Testimony
Rev. 5:6

“Oh, that all could behold our precious Saviour as He is, a Saviour. Let His hand draw aside the
veil which conceals His glory from our eyes. It shows Him in His high and holy place. What do
we see? Our Saviour, not in a position of silence and inactivity. He is surrounded with heavenly
intelligences, cherubim, and seraphim, ten thousand times ten thousand of angels.”

“All these heavenly beings have one object above all others, in which they are intensely
interested—His church in a world of corruption. All these armies are in the service of the Prince
of heaven, exalting the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. They are working
for Christ under His commission, to save to the uttermost all who look to Him and believe in
Him. These heavenly intelligences are speeding on their mission, doing for Christ that which
Herod and Pilate did against Him. They confederate together to uphold the honor and glory of
God. They are united in a holy alliance, in a grand and sublime unity of purpose, to show forth
the power and compassion and love and glory of the crucified and risen Saviour.”1

Time was running out. The Allied troops were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, and
the German troops were closing in. From a vast network of top secret tunnels underneath the
medieval walls of Dover Castle, Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay and his staff worked night and
day in a desperate bid to rescue the troops before time ran out. In just ten days, with only limited
resources, Admiral Ramsay pulled off the impossible, organizing the evacuation of more than
338,000 Allied troops by a hastily assembled fleet of hundreds of fishing boats, yachts, lifeboats,
and other small vessels.

It might sometimes feel like God has left this world to its own devices, and the devil is about to
be victorious. But behind the scenes, Jesus is working tirelessly on the greatest rescue mission in
the history of the universe. All the resources of Heaven are focused on one thing – God’s people.
No wonder the angels can only cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power
and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:13, NIV)

REACT
1. How does the earthly sanctuary help us understand what Jesus is doing for us now?
2. How does knowing what Jesus is doing in the heavenly sanctuary impact our daily lives?

Catherine Robinson, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Callout: All the resources of Heaven are focused on one thing – God’s people.

1
SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, pp. 967–968.
Wednesday
January 23

Vindication by Proclamation

How-to
Rev. 4:11; 5:13

We do not deserve to hear God’s voice. To be His footstool in heaven for eternity is more than
what we deserve; and yet, He has paradise and joys beyond our understanding in store for us; a
treasure that is imperishable (1 Pet. 1:3–5).

The living creatures surrounding the Father’s throne proclaim that He is holy and worthy to
receive glory (Rev 4:11). After the slain Lamb opens the scroll, all creatures proclaim that the
Father and the Lamb receive honor and glory forever (Rev. 5:13). They are fit to be witnesses
because they dwell with God and the Lamb.

We, too, will proclaim God and our Savior are holy and worthy to receive glory and honor when
we dwell with Him. This proclamation vindicates His character to the worlds because a lie has
been spread by the enemy. This lie is whispered by the adversary and though it manifests itself in
many ways, it’s merely only one lie: God cannot be trusted. When we proclaim that God is holy,
good, and worthy of praise, we vindicate His character shriveling the authenticity of the enemy’s
lie.

How can we more effectively vindicate His character and tell the world He can be trusted?

Spend time with God so His character rubs off on you. Have you noticed that when you spend a
considerable time with a friend you tend to adopt his/her mannerisms and common phrases they
tend to say frequently? The same will happen once you delight in God’s presence.

Get into the habit of allowing God to be your first counsel in all things. From choosing your
attire to choosing a spouse, asking God’s advice and asking Him to have full control over your
life will set you in motion to testify of His holiness. He will never withhold anything good from
you (Ps. 84:11, 12) so you will witness for yourself how He only picks the best of the best for
you.

Praise God even when your plans don’t work out. When God shuts a door, we may question His
intentions towards us. This is when the enemy tends to whisper that God is not who He says He
is; that He cannot be trusted. Thank Him when plans come crashing down. He may have just
saved you from unnecessary heartache.

REACT
1. Is it possible to delight in the Lord and His holiness while still striving for things of this
world? Why?
2. What do you think are the benefits of gradually discovering God’s character?
Kim Machado, Columbia, Maryland, USA

Callout: He will never withhold anything good from you


Thursday
January 24

The Wonder of It All

Opinion
Revelation 4:1–11

“Remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that
take our breath away!” This quote, which has been attributed to many authors, resonates with me
in a powerful way. These moments—moments of awe, wonder, and exhilarating joy—are
experiences that often catch us by surprise and make a permanent mark on our memories.

Travel is a great way to explore the world and the people around, and has often left me in
wonder. I have been to grand concert halls, cathedrals, museums, government buildings, and
eclectic structures in several countries. In the natural world, mountains and waterfalls, in
particular, grab my attention. People and cultures also fascinate me, and I often am eager to
interact and learn about them.

There is so much beauty in this world. And yet, I have learned that it is only a sample of the true
beauty of the universe.

When I think about the throne room of God as described in Revelation 4, I find myself truly
without words. There is nothing on this earth, natural or man-made, that compares to the
majesty, glory, and wonder of this grand space somewhere in the universe.

A throne of precious stones, an emerald rainbow, decadently dressed individuals, mind-bending


creatures, heavenly music, and of course, the awesome presence of God the Father.

This Father, full of might and grace, has proven through His Word that He considers us, human
beings, His greatest creation. God loves us and has done everything in His power to restore His
precious creation back to Himself in giving humanity His Son, Jesus.

Because of Jesus, His sacrifice, and His victory, I and all who claim Him as Lord, are assured
that one day we will able to join Him and the Father in heaven. We will see nature as God truly
intended it, and explore the universe in ways we can’t even imagine.

Most importantly, we will be in an everlasting love relationship with our Creator, Redeemer, and
Friend. When I sit and think about that and all that it means, it simply takes my breath away.

Juliana Baioni, Rockville, Maryland, USA

Callout: We will see nature as God truly intended it, and explore the universe in ways we can’t
even imagine.
Friday
January 25

The Return of the King

Exploration
Revelation 5:8–14

CONCLUDE
The triumph of Jesus over sin deserves a celebration. Heaven resounds with the songs of victory
after a long and punishing war. As Jesus takes His place in the heavenly throne room, it is the
happy ending of every movie all rolled into one. Now the good guy has come out on top, love
wins, and everyone will live happily ever after.

CONSIDER
 Finding the song in your music library that you think most closely approximates the kind
of triumphant anthem that would accompany the scenes in Revelation 5.
 Planning a celebration for a friend or family member who has persevered to accomplish a
goal. It could be a graduation, the finishing of a book, or the anniversary of establishing a
business.
 Composing a poem or song of praise that follows the pattern of Revelation 5. Include
praise for something specific God has done in your life.
 Studying to find the reason why the creatures in Revelation 5 have so many wings and so
many eyes.
 Interviewing your older friends or family members about the most memorable
celebrations in their lives.
 Creating a greeting card to thank and honor a person who has done something noble on
your behalf and deserves your praise.
 Finding a video on the internet of a great ceremony—perhaps an inauguration, a
coronation, or a royal wedding. What do you think the ceremony has in common with the
celebration of the Lamb?

CONNECT
Exodus 15:1–21; Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 1.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 673–678; Heaven, chapter 19, “The Music of
Heaven.”
Elizabeth Talbot, Jesus 101: Revelation the Fifth Gospel.
Kay Rizzo, On Wings of Praise: How I Found Real Joy in a Personal Friendship With
God.

Kim Peckham, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA


lesson five
January 26‒February 1

The Seven Seals

“ ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have
redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and
have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth’ ” (Revelation 5:9,
10, NKJV).
Sabbath
January 26

“Lift Up Your Heads, Redemption Draweth Nigh”

Introduction
Deut. 32:43; Matt. 24:3–14; Heb. 12:1, 2

I have never run a marathon, and the thought of it is daunting. Were I to attempt a marathon
today, I am almost certain that I would be unable to finish the 26.2 miles. I can almost hear my
legs and muscles screaming, “We didn’t train for this!” or “How much longer?” Yet I have
confidence that with training and preparation, running a marathon is a goal that I could someday
accomplish. Avid runners are well aware of the training and dedication that goes into preparing
for a marathon. And just as runners need to prepare physically and mentally for marathons,
Christians need to train and prepare daily in order to finish the spiritual race.

Runners may face dehydration, pain, exhaustion, and changes in body temperature, particularly
near the end of the race. Likewise, in our spiritual race, we too may face periods of pain and
exhaustion and may draw courage from the fact that the race will soon end. There have been
“wars and rumors of wars”, “nations [have risen] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”,
and there are “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matt. 24:6, 7). Jesus also
tells us that we will be hated and possibly killed for His names sake (Matt. 24:9, 10). These signs
give us hope that Jesus is soon to return. Like a marathon, our spiritual race and nearing the end
can be scary, difficult, and painful. But Jesus tells us to, "rejoice, you nations, with His people,
for He will avenge the blood of His servants; He will take vengeance on His enemies and make
atonement for His land and people” (Deut. 32:43).

As the world's history comes to an end, let us hold fast to the promises of Jesus, our Conqueror,
Redeemer, and Friend. As we wait, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1, 2). As the song goes:

Signs of the times are everywhere.


There’s a brand new feeling in the air.
Keep your eyes upon the eastern sky,
Lift up your heads, redemption draweth nigh!

REACT
1. Since we do not know when Jesus will return, how can we support one another in keeping the
faith? How do you keep the faith?
2. What strategies do you use when you feel nervous or anxious? Could these help when you feel
worried or scared about the end times?

Michelle Gordon, Glenside, Pennsylvania, Female

Callout: Like a marathon, our spiritual race and nearing the end can be scary, difficult, and
painful.
Sunday
January 27

Watch the Throne

Logos
Lev. 26:21–26; Zech. 1:8–17; Gal. 3:13; Rev. 5:1–10; 6:1–17

Jesus is King (Rev. 5:1–10)


It may come as a surprise that Jesus, who is God, actually gained authority after the resurrection,
becoming the King of this world. Right before He went to the cross He said, “Now the prince of
this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). After the resurrection, Jesus said, “All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). When God created the earth, He gave
its authority to Adam, but when Adam sinned, that authority was transferred to Satan who has
held the whole world under his rule of sin and death (Luke 4:6). Jesus, who never sinned and was
resurrected from the dead, conquered Satan and took back the authority that Adam lost.

Were it not for the book of Revelation, the last time we would see Jesus would be in the book of
Acts when He was taken up into heaven. Thanks to Revelation we can see what happened when
He took His throne in heaven, and what has been happening since. Revelation chapter five
records the wondrous events taking place in heaven when Jesus is given authority and power
after the resurrection. Jesus, who lived as a tempted human being and can relate to the human
experience of death, is now uniquely qualified to be our Judge; because of His qualification and
authority, Revelation says that He was found worthy to, “take the scroll, and to open its seals”
(Rev. 5:9).

Jesus is a Man of Action (1 Kings 16:11; Acts 1–2)


What is this mysterious scroll with its seals that Jesus opens? One thing we know is that Jesus
begins to open the scrolls immediately after His resurrection when He sits down on His throne as
King. When we look at the Old Testament, we see that the moment a king took the throne, he
began to execute judgment. This was a time to take action and exercise his newly-given
authority. One example is in 1 Kings 16:11a: “As soon as he began to reign and was seated on
the throne, he killed off Baasha's whole family…” Similar instances are repeated throughout the
history of the kings of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament, so it should come as no surprise
that Jesus takes immediate action upon receiving His new role as King of this world. Upon
coronation, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit and works for the salvation of humanity in Jerusalem,
Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1–2).

Jesus is Judge (Lev. 26:21-26; Isaiah 10:5, 6; Rev. 6:1–8)


Judgment comes first to the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17). When we look at what happens on earth
as Jesus opens the first four seals, we see language that calls to mind the judgments that would
come upon the people of God if they were unfaithful to His covenant. The white horse of the first
seal represents the success of the gospel during the apostolic movement, but progressively
declines through the subsequent seals.
The covenant curses and blessings are spelled out in Leviticus 26:21–26. Here we see that if
God’s people were unfaithful to Him, they would suffer from famine, sword, plagues, and wild
beasts. These are the very same afflictions that occurred on earth when Jesus opened the first
four seals in heaven. God has a hedge of protection around His children, but we see in Scripture
that when the children of Israel went astray, God would remove this protection and allow other
nations to afflict them in order to lead them to repentance and faith (Lev. 26:23).

Jesus is an Avenger (Zech. 1:15; Rev. 6:9–11)


Another common scenario we see in the Old Testament is that once the nations God has used to
bring judgment on His people have overstepped their bounds, God judges those same nations for
being too violent or oppressive: “And I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was
only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment” (Zech. 1:15). In the opening of the
fifth seal, Revelation 6:10 records the cry of martyrs, asking, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy
and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” God’s martyrs call
for justice for how they have been brutalized, just as Abel’s blood figuratively cried from the
ground. The time has come for God to vindicate His people through the judgment. The white
robes reveal what their verdicts are. Ultimately, the sixth seal then records God’s judgment of
the nations and the second coming of Christ.

Jesus is Savior (Rom. 8:37; Gal. 3:13)


Jesus Christ is uniquely fit to be Judge because He has taken on all of the curses that God said
would befall those who break His law. Jesus not only took our curse, but He was tempted and
overcame, even overcoming the grave. Because of this, He can relate intimately with our pains
while giving us power to overcome. Jesus promised that those who overcome as He overcame
will sit on His throne with Him. So we can look at every trial as an opportunity for God to make
us an overcomer and fit us for the throne!

REACT
1. Can you think of a trial that you have faced lately? How can God use it to make you an
overcomer in the same way that Jesus overcame?
2. What is something Jesus overcame that inspires you?
3. What are sources of encouragement that we can draw on from seeing that Jesus is calling His
people to repentance through the trials they face?
4. What are some of the curses that Jesus took on our behalf as recorded in Leviticus 26:21-26?

Lee Givhan, Middletown, Delaware

Callout: Thanks to Revelation we can see what happened when He took His throne in heaven,
and what has been happening since.
Monday
January 28

The Slain Lamb of End Times

Testimony
Rev. 6:1–8; Lev 26:21–26; Matt 24:1–14

Imagine you were having a peaceful vision then suddenly it took a wrong turn. What do you
think your response would be? John responded with a great sobbing when he realized there was
no one worthy of reading and opening the scroll. Consider how different our view of life would
be had the scroll not been opened to unveil future prophecy. Then one of the elders went to John
and said, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed
to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5, NKJV).

John looked in the middle of the throne where the elders stood and a Lamb that was slain took
the scroll. The Lamb represents Jesus who came to take away our sins (John 1:29). Says the
Revelator: “Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four
living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a
white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out
conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:1, 2, NKJV). The whiteness of the horse demonstrates the
purity of faith during the first centuries of the church. The crown given to the rider, going forth
and conquering with eagerness and success with truth represents what the earliest ministers
experienced. The rider upon the horse took the gospel to all the world.1

Jesus foretold that there would be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in various places and all
these are the beginning of sorrows. The whole world will be reached with the gospel, then the
end will come (Matt 24:14). “In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds
of heaven, such a work as that of John [the Baptist] is to be done. God calls for men who will
prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. In order to give such a message as John
gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We
must behold God, and in beholding Him lose sight of self.” 2

REACT
1. Why was John distraught about not being able to initially open the scrolls?
2. What happens when you knowingly walk contrary to God?
3. What signs will occur as the end draws near?

Rochelle Amos, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, USA

Callout: God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord.

1
DAR (1909) 432.1
2
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 332, 333.
Tuesday
January 29

We Already Know How this Story Ends

Evidence
Rev. 6:1–8

When John wrote Revelation, it was a tumultuous time for the early church as Rome was
beginning to demand that citizens worship the Emperor. Disobedience to this new rule led to
John being exiled on the Island of Patmos, where he received the visions we read about today
(Rev. 1:9). These revelations were a message that may have seemed like a mystical tale of fiction
to some reading at the time. In fact today, movies, television shows, and books have been made
about the apocalypse, glorifying destruction, death and chaos. But is that what the book of
Revelation is truly about?

In modern English the word “apocalypse” has come to mean “the complete destruction of the
world.” However the word apocalypse means something else; from Greek, “apocalypse”
translates to “uncover” or “reveal.” While we often read this text in the context of preparation
for the future final days, the four horsemen of the apocalypse also provide us with a glimpse of
God’s character to help us keep the faith as the end draws near.

Revelation chapter six discusses the six seals, sharing the events of the end days. Although we
often focus on the events of each seal, there is a crucial piece of evidence in the very first line.
Revelation 6:1 opens with “As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the
scroll.” Before we even get to the descriptions of horsemen and the deception, war, famine, and
pestilence they bring, we see another character, the Individual who breaks the seals, who allows
all of the impending action to happen. That person is The Lamb, Jesus Christ.

When we read about apocalyptic events we must always remember that we know how the story
ends. These final events are a part of a larger plan of salvation, and despite the destruction, war,
and death we may see as the second coming draws near, God is still in control.

Reading about the end times can often feel confusing. However, we should not be overwhelmed,
but encouraged that Jesus will soon return. We should never forget that there is an ongoing
spiritual battle that we cannot see (Eph. 6:12). While the four horsemen of the apocalypse give us
a glimpse of the end, we can be comforted in knowing that the final battle has already been won.

REACT
1. Color symbolism is often used in the Bible to deepen our understanding (cf. Ps. 51:7; Isa.
1:18; Jer. 14:2; Lam. 5:10; Dan. 11:35; Matt. 17:2). How does the usage of color deepen our
understanding of Revelation 6:1–8?
2. List the symbols in today’s passage. Where else in the Bible are these symbols and images
used. Using this context think about why this specific symbol was used? What does its inclusion
teach us about God’s character?
Krissy Wint, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

Callout: What the book of Revelation is truly about?


Wednesday
January 30

Reality is Better

How-to
Rev. 6:12

Have you ever had a favorite book that was then made into a movie, but for whatever reason the
film left out your favorite part? Even worse, it reinterpreted that scene to mean something
completely different? Hollywood has been known to take artistic license when telling Bible
stories, rendering them without respect to the greater context of salvation. Chapter six of
Revelation in particular has suffered from this unfortunate reinterpretation. You could imagine
what most people would say if you asked them what they thought the 4 horsemen of the
apocalypse represented. Perhaps that they bring destruction and ruin so that a shadowy figure can
take over the world. But we know better than to give our own private interpretations. Here are a
few lessons that we can take from the biblical understanding of the four horsemen and the rest of
the seals into our daily lives.

Peace: Rather than being influenced by the world’s anxiety-ridden interpretations of Scripture,
we can rejoice and have peace. Instead of villainous henchmen, the horsemen of Revelation 6:1-
8 represent the goodness of the gospel being proclaimed. God is not in the business of fear
mongering. Each seal opened is an invitation. The Lamb’s scroll, the living will of Jesus, reveals
Christ’s inheritance, His people, a restored body which He calls us to be a part of. We can have
peace knowing that we are in the body of Christ.

Courage: The horsemen represent the diverse conditions under which the gospel is going
forward, be it during times of prosperity and rapid multiplication, or persecution, famine and
threat of death. We can know that God will be with those who faithfully spread the gospel
regardless of the circumstances.

Hope: Just like the servants of God in verses nine and ten, we too may wonder how long until
God intervenes, but we don’t have to lose hope. We can know that God delays His coming
because somewhere out there is another soul who would say yes to the salvation that Jesus
brings, if only His people would present it to them. God knows there are more out there waiting
for us to tell them about Jesus. Let us bring them hope and strengthen our own in the process.

As we approach the final movements of this world’s history in the sixth seal, we must hold on to
the faith that Jesus gives. Even when there is “a great shaking” and some of the stars of heaven,
those in the church, fall away, we can still know God stands with us.

REACT
1. What do you think is a proper use of artistic license in Christian media and film?
2. Have you ever met someone who was frightened by the prophetic language of the Bible? What
would you say to them now?
3. How does the Gospel personally bring you peace, courage and hope?
Andrew Carroll, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

Callout: We know better than to give our own private interpretations.


Thursday
January 31

The Lion and the Lamb

Opinion
Rev. 5:1–10

In Christian circles, we often focus on the fact that Jesus conquered the grave in His capacity as
the Son of God. We talk about the power of God being the only means by which Jesus could
have resurrected from the grave. That, of course, is not an erroneous point of view. None but
God could defy the laws of death. However, there is a tenet of the resurrection story that we do
not linger on enough—the scars of Christ and their implications.

In Revelation 5, John talks about being distressed because no one could open the book with
seven seals. As he is weeping, one of the elders comes and comforts him by letting him know
that there is, indeed, Someone worthy to open the book. In this passage, Jesus is described as the
Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain. At first, it seems as if the apostle is
insinuating that Jesus’ victory and credibility come as the Lion of Judah. However, when reading
verses 9 and 10, Jesus’ authority to open the book is as the Lamb that was slain. In other words,
Jesus won with His scars.

Jesus is worthy to open the book because He was “slain, and purchased for God with [His] blood
men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:10, NASB). Jesus’ credibility is
a result of His vulnerability. The power of God was needed to raise Jesus from the dead;
however, we are drawn to Christ because this power climaxed in vulnerability. Through His
death, He embodied what He taught His disciples to do—“You know that the rulers of the
Gentiles lord it over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to becomes great
among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 20:25, 26, NASB).

Our hearts are not drawn to Christ because He was perfect; our hearts are drawn to Him because
He made Himself vulnerable. No one wants a perfect friend who cannot offer an ounce of
vulnerability. Thus, the Lamb that was slain rose with His scars as part of His victory. Jesus
teaches us sympathy and empathy. Our best witness is our testimony. People are not enticed by
our rhetoric until they know that we have walked where they are now walking. Our scars are not
a source of shame; as with the Redeemer of mankind, our scars prove us worthy.

REACT
1. What kind of encouragement have the scars of Christ provided in your walk with Him?
2. What is the difference between vulnerability and shame?

Manushka Gracia-Desgage, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Callout: We are drawn to Christ because this power climaxed in vulnerability


Friday
February 1

“The Seals Are Now Open”

Exploration
Matt. 24:14

CONCLUDE
In Revelation 6, Jesus opens the six seals and takes us on a journey of the spread of the gospel
and its reception. Seal one takes us back to when the gospel was being preached in its purest
form and how the gospel spread to almost the entire world during the time of the apostle Paul.
Seals two to five shows how the gospel took a dark turn to governments persecuting and killing
people because of the gospel, to the church taking the place of the government and killing and
persecuting people in the name of the gospel, the gospel being tainted by paganism and
commercialism and highlighting the martyrs who died for the gospel. Seal six brings us to the
final chapters of earth’s history where signs and wonders point to the second coming of Jesus
Christ. All six seals have been broken, are we ready to meet Jesus, the One who was found
worthy to open them.

CONSIDER
 Listening to Joe Crew’s sermon on the Seven Seals
(https://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/media/e/718/f/6/t/seven-seals---part-1).
 Making a chart highlighting the seven seals and the events in history that relate to each
seal.
 Discussing with your Sabbath school class the following questions: How has the gospel
become commercialized and watered down? What pagan or heathen practices have been
introduced into the gospel in the 21st century? What can we do to ensure that we are
preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing else?
 Writing the quote, “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit
to live,” by Martin Luther King Jr. on a piece of paper or post-it note and post it
someplace where you can reflect on it before you start and/or end your day.
 Reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or research a famous Christian martyr.
 Taking some time out of your daily prayer to pray for those who still have not heard the
gospel or who have not accepted Christ as their Savior and ask God how He can use you
to spread the gospel.

CONNECT
Joel 2:30, 31; Matthew 24.
Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, chapter 6, “Revelation.”

Sara Horatius, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


lesson six
February 2‒8

The Sealed People of God

“ ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb’ ” (Revelation 7:14, NKJV).
Sabbath
February 2

Ready For the Seal?

Introduction
2 Pet. 3:13

The thread of Christ’s return runs throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New
Testament. It is the future, blessed hope that every true Christian lives with. Our view of the
future should inform how we live today. Thus the anticipation of Christ’s return comes with a
responsibility that we must execute in this life.

Upon His return, every person will stand before the Lord to give an account for how they lived
their life. We are stewards, entrusted with gifts, possessions, and responsibilities to use for the
advancement of Christ’s Kingdom. We have time, money, talents, and other responsibilities
bestowed upon us to use for His cause. While we do not know the exact time of His return, we
are sure that He will surely come, and all of us will give an account of how we used what Christ
entrusted us with. Therefore, the question that we need to ask is, “Are we ready for His return?”
Christ exhorts us to be ready for His return because He will judge everyone accordingly.

Many Christians have become impatient about Christ’s second coming. Some have failed to
fulfill their engagements, and some have changed their plans, based on the lapse off time.
However, the Bible warns, “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise.” Peter provides a
fitting answer to what many people consider slackness on the part of the Lord to fulfill His
promise. The Lord is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV). This view is confirmed in Revelation 7:1–3.

The Bible provides the reason why Christ seems to be taking longer to return. He is giving
everyone a chance to repent and to join those who will have His seal. In His infinite mercy and
love, Christ spares ungodly men, offering them more time for grace, so they can renounce their
sins and find salvation through the blood of the Lamb.

So, what must we do to be ready for the seal? The qualification to receive the seal of God hinges
on our ability to walk in the light, as God Himself is in the light. Peter writes, “Therefore,
beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace,
without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:14, KJV2000).

As we look forward to the second coming of Christ, we have a duty to keep ourselves pure and
blameless, as a step toward receiving the seal.

Julius Nyerere, Ngong’, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: The Bible provides the reason why Christ seems to be taking longer to return.
Sunday
February 3

Are You Among The Sealed?

Evidence
Rev. 7:4–8

In understanding Revelation, it is important to note that the figures and imageries used may not
be literal. Instead, they point to something bigger, which must be of importance to those living in
this era. It is important to ask of Revelation 7:4–8, not just whether or not the number is
symbolic, but whether we shall be among the number, when the roll is called up yonder.

Therefore, who are the 144,000 people described in this vision? Considering the entire scene as
symbolic, we can conclude that the number refers to those who shall be saved at the end. It
represents the servants of God, Christians of all ages to the end of the world. The number
144,000 is made up of number 12,000 multiplied by itself. According to one commentator, this
number stands for completeness and perfection in the ultimate degree. What it means is, “that not
one of those who are worthy shall be overlooked and forgotten…it also carries the thought that
the natural universe, the powers of evil, and the ravages of time, shall not interfere with God’s
plans until all are accomplished.”1

Thus the number symbolizes the complete number of the redeemed, when this world shall end. It
is a definite number unknown to us, but surely known to God, and holds significance to
Christians living in this time. The vision, as expressed in this passage, demonstrates that God has
a purpose to accomplish with His people, even in the face of raging tribulations. God intends to
seal a remnant of His people who will remain on the face of the earth when Christ returns.

In Revelation 14, the character of the chosen 144,000 is outlined. This number thence represents
a pure and virgin church, free of defilement from spiritual or moral adultery. Only those who
cling to Christ in the generation of antichrist can receive the seal and celebrate with the Lamb.
John’s vision exhorts us to do what God requires of us, so we can be among the number that will
receive the seal of redemption. It also teaches that God always has a remnant on earth, people
who will stick with His precepts even in the greatest adversities.

“When God sent the flood upon the earth, He separated Noah and his family from the rest of the
human race and the flood did not hurt them. When God destroyed Jericho, He protected Rahab
and her household…in a similar way, in the time of great tribulation, protection will be given to
this group of 144,000 Israelites.”2

REACT
1. What should we do as a church to be among the sealed?

Mark Gift, Nairobi, Kenya

1
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/revelation/7-4.html
2
https://bible.org/seriespage/7-saints-great-tribulation
Callout: God has a purpose to accomplish with His people, even in the face of raging
tribulations.
Monday
February 4

The Seal of the Living God

Logos
Rev. 7:1–3; 7:4–8; 14:1–4; 14:5

Restraining the Winds (Rev. 7:1–3)


One of the big questions we need to ask regarding Revelation 7 is, “Why was it important to
restrain the winds?” Elsewhere, the Bible uses the word “winds” to denote a period of disaster
that includes plague and famine (Ezek. 5:12). The use of wind in Revelation 7 implies a
metaphor for God’s wrath that will come upon the world, just before Christ’s second coming.
This wrath includes all sorts of tribulation: wars, incurable diseases, political disagreements,
teenage pregnancies, drugs, and more.

Before He pours His wrath upon the disobedient earth, He holds on a little longer to give each
son and daughter a chance to be with Him at the final close of this world. In 2 Peter 3:9, we learn
of God’s character that He is “longsuffering towards us.” God wants us to come back to him in
repentance. It is important to know that we are living in a time when God’s people are being
sealed, and so, shall we choose to receive the seal?

The Sealed People of God (Rev. 7:4–8)


The Bible is clear about who will receive the seal: their number and their tribes. From the tribe of
Judah to that of Benjamin, twelve thousand in each tribe are sealed. John uses this imagery to
represent the entire generation of God’s people, those who will stick with Christ to the end. It is
one thing to call yourself a Christian, and another to uphold the tenets of true Christianity. The
number 144,000 is a representation of those who will have persevered to the end. It is derived
from the twelve tribes of Israel, which Christ the Savior originated.

The Great Multitude (Rev. 7: 9–14)


In Revelation 7:9, John sees a great multitude that no one can count. He also sees people from all
nations, tribes, and tongues gathered before the Lamb. The gospel of salvation is like the mustard
seed, which upon planting, grows into a mighty tree that provides shelter and shade to all types
of animals, people, and birds. Anyone who accepts Christ as a personal Savior has the chance to
celebrate with Him in the end.

The sealed people of God are the products of the seed of the gospel of salvation. If we are to
stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion when the world ends, then we must accept the message of
salvation brought to us by Christ and His representatives across the world.

Those Who Follow the Lamb (Rev. 14:1–5)


Earlier in the Bible, Christ is recognized as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
world” (John 1:29). In Revelation, John sees the Lamb and those who follow Him. So, who are
the followers of the Lamb? To begin with, the number 144,000 denotes the sealed people from
all corners of the world.
In the vision, the revelator notices the characteristics of the sealed people—the followers of the
Lamb. One quality that stands out is that they “keep the commandments of God and the faith of
Jesus” (v. 12). Importantly, Christ appears here as the true Lamb, covering His followers and His
church with His blood, which He shed on the cross, to make them victorious even in the midst of
tribulations.

Another characteristic of the followers of the Lamb is the distinguishing mark that each of them
wears—the name of God on their foreheads. This confirms that they have made a bold and an
open declaration of their faith in God and in Christ, which they have demonstrated in word and
deed.

In addition, the chosen of the Lamb know only one duty—to offer congratulations and praises to
God and Christ in a language that only the redeemed can understand. As Christians living in the
days just before the end of time, we have a choice to make: either to join the camp of those who
follow the Lamb, or to remain in the world and face God’s wrath.

Salvation to God and the Lamb (Rev. 14:5)


In Revelation 14:5, the revelator proceeds to highlight the character and description of those who
follow the Lamb. First, they are chaste and pure—they are virgins. They are undefiled. The
followers of the Lamb must not defile themselves with corporal or spiritual adultery. They must
keep themselves from the sins of the antichrist generation.

Secondly, the followers of the Lamb maintain loyalty and unwavering adherence to God. The
keep the first commandment which states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exod.
20:3).

“Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the source and sustainer of all, is
alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the
first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for
God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god.”1

Above all, the followers of the Lamb are a happy remnant that gives glory to Christ always. The
seal of the living God is reserved for people with these qualities.

REACT
1. How long do you think God should restrain the winds?
2. What other qualification for receiving the seal of God can you add to the ones mentioned?

Tony Philip Oreso, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: Anyone who accepts Christ as a personal Savior has the chance to celebrate with Him in
the end.

1
Ellen G. Whtie, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 303.
Tuesday

February 5

Reflections About The Sealed

Testimony
Rev. 7:14

“When the four angels finally let go and cease holding in check the malicious designs of Satan
and the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole
world will be involved in ruin more terrible than which came upon Jerusalem of old.”1

Therefore, “the sealing is a pledge from God of perfect security to His chosen ones. Sealing
indicates you are God’s chosen. He has appropriated you to Himself.”2

This grand plan by God to save His people makes Satan more enraged. “Satan is now using
every device in this sealing time, to keep the minds of God’s people from the present, sealing
truth; and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people, to
protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth, and was pure in
heart, was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty God.”3

“The seal is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually
and spiritually, so they cannot be moved.”4 It is “a mark which angels, not human eyes can read:
for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign
of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of
the Law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful
to all God’s commands.”5

But why must God hold on a little longer before He destroys the world? “The bottles of God’s
wrath cannot be poured out to destroy the wicked and their works until all the people of God
have been judged, and the cases of the living as well as the dead are decided. And even after the
saints are sealed with the seal of the living God, His elect will have trials individually. Personal
afflictions will come; but the furnace is closely watched by an eye that will not suffer the gold to
be consumed. The indelible mark of God is upon them. God can plead His own name is written
there. The Lord has shut them in. Their destination is inscribed—‘God, New Jerusalem.’ They
are God’s property, His possession.”6

REACT
What is the significance of God’s seal to a person who has been living and still lives in sin?

1
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 614.
2
Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, p. 225.
3
Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, August 1, 1849.
4
Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 1161.
5
Ellen G. White, The Gospel Herald, June 11, 1902.
6
Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 446.
Jane Oreso, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: Sealing indicates you are God’s chosen.


Wednesday
February 6

Characteristics of the Sealed

How-to
Rev. 14:1–5

Our study this week revolves around the sealed people of God. Therefore, it is a requirement for
us to take time and analyze what we must do in order to obtain the seal. In its literal meaning, a
seal is a device that makes an impression to show ownership, agreement, or authenticity. In
ancient times, seals comprised stones, pieces of ivory, or wood with engraved letters or designs
(cf. Exod. 28:11; Neh. 9:38). A seal implies a mark of authenticity or possession.

Revelation 14 begins with the final triumph of Christ and His sealed people. John paints a picture
of the events just before the ultimate destruction of the wicked world. In the vision, John assures
Christians that the Lamb will ultimately triumph together with His chosen followers. The scene
in the beginning of this chapter presents Christ in His official capacity as the sacrificial Lamb,
with the 144,000 sealed followers.

The sealed followers have special characteristics, one of which is the Father’s name written on
their foreheads. This is an open demonstration that they are children of God, through faith in
Christ Jesus. Of importance for us in this generation is the character that we must cultivate in
order to stand counted as the sealed of God.

Chastity and purity: The world offers lots of temporal things with the potential to lure Christians
out of their spiritual track. In this vision, John speaks of the multitude with the Lamb as people
who have not defiled themselves in any way whatsoever. In order to stand with Christ in the
fullness of time, we must shun sin and all its roots (Gal. 5:19–23).

Absolute loyalty to Christ: The main duty of the sealed is to glorify Christ and adhere to His
principles. As followers of Christ, we are obliged to follow the conduct of His word, Spirit, and
providence. We must leave it to Christ to lead us into wherever and whatever He pleases.

Redemption: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In order to receive
God’s seal, we must disown our former selves and embrace a new life with Christ. Through His
redeeming mercy, Christ will separate the chosen from the rest of the world.

REACT
1. How can we identify people with the seal of God? Is it something visible for all to see?
2. Is it possible for a person who has led a sinful life in the past to become pure?

Pauline Otieno, Kisumu, Kenya

Callout: In order to stand with Christ in the fullness of time, we must shun sin and all its roots
Thursday
February 7

Blessings of the Sealed

Opinion
Rev. 7:9–14

John describes a great multitude that stands in heaven and before the throne of God and the
Lamb (Rev. 7:9–14). The multitude represents the saved lot—the redeemed and sealed to inherit
the kingdom of God.

To stand before the heavenly throne is a great honor. John describes the multitude as wearing
white robes, something that was reserved for saints (Rev. 6:11). The white robes represent the
level of purity expected from God’s people. With the palm branches in their hands, they
demonstrate a sense victory, celebration, and deliverance (cf. Lev. 23:40).

In a show of solidarity, the multitude cries out with a loud voice, “Salvation to our God and the
Lamb” (Rev. 7:10). Their word is a testimony that they rejoice in the truth, and that salvation is
only through God and the Lamb (cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Our duty as created beings and as a
church is to praise and glorify God to eternity. In heaven, our major role will be to praise and
acknowledge the glory of God and the Lamb.

But what do the chosen of God stand to benefit? The first blessing is that they have the chance to
appear before the throne of God. This is a far greater privilege than sharing a presidential
pavilion in this world. Secondly, God Himself protects the sealed. The Bible explains that “He
who sits on the throne shall spread his tabernacle over them” (John 1:14). In the complete
presence of the Father and the Lamb, the chosen will enjoy a wonderful intimacy, free from all
forms of devastation and tribulation. There is no hunger, thirst, or scorching sun.

Above all, the Lamb Himself is their shepherd (John 10:11). Christ, with all the authority given
Him by the Father, will lead the sealed to the springs of living water. There will be no more tears
as God will wipe away their tears. This is a great assurance to the saints that suffered for His
cause during their life in this world. The choice to remain on God’s side comes with a great
responsibility—and a prize. If we hope to inherit the Kingdom of God, we must brace ourselves
for war with the Devil. But the blessings, and the ultimate prize of our suffering outweigh the
struggle, pain, and suffering that we can experience in this world.

The blessings of the sealed are ours to claim. What we must do is to choose to stick with the
Lamb to the end of time.

REACT
1. What are some of the things that can hinder us from being sealed?
2. What role can we play as a church in order to receive the seal of God?

Dorothy Odhiambo, Homa-Bay, Kenya


Callout: The blessings of the sealed are ours to claim.
Friday
February 8

The Seal of Righteousness

Exploration
Rom. 3:22

CONCLUDE
The seal of God’s people is a proof that they belong to the Sealer. The seal protects; it shows
permanence; and it shows the prominence of the sealed people. Above all, the seal demonstrates
power and provides peace to both the sealed and the Sealer. Regardless of our past sins, our race,
gender, or background, God gives us equal chance to be His sealed people. He is willing to seal
us by the blood of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

CONSIDER
 Making a list of items in your house or office, which you would like to have sealed. What
is the difference between the items with the seal and those without it? Think of how this
activity relates to this week’s lesson.
 Watching a documentary about Christian persecution in various parts of the world. What
does this teach you about the price Christians must pay for their loyalty?
 Writing about the characteristics of Christ. Identify which traits of Christ are lacking in
your life, which can prevent you from receiving the seal of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to
help you develop the lacking traits and to use them for Christ’s cause.
 Reading Revelation 14:1–5 and drawing two columns. In one column write the
characteristics of those who are with the Lamb on Mount Zion. In the other column, write
your own characteristics. Compare the two columns and identify what is missing and how
you can acquire it.
 Listening to Christian songs which highlight the love of God for His chosen people.
 Interpreting John’s vision in relation to the present state of the church. Which issues
come up in your interpretation?

CONNECT
Matthew 25:46; John 3:16; Ephesians 4:4
Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 175.

Sam Ocheing’, Homa-Bay, Kenya


lesson seven
February 9–15

The Seven Trumpets

“But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of
God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7, NKJV).
Sabbath
February 9

The Echo of a Trumpet

Introduction
Josh. 6; Rev. 8–10

The inhabitants of Jericho peeked out of the city fearfully. Everyday there had been this strange
procession. Everyday there had been a threatening trumpet blast. The earth quivered under the
ominous pounding of thousands of feet on the Palestinian soil. The sound of trumpets echoed off
the surrounding mountainside.

The Children of Israel were obviously giving them a warning of some kind, but they could not
understand what it was. Oddly, today was different—the strange procession did not stop with just
one march around the city. There was a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, and a seventh.
Suddenly, trumpets sounded powerfully and a thousand voices roared like thunder.

In Revelation, John paints a similar picture of warning trumpets. It almost echoes the Jericho
story with the seven trumpet blasts. Mingled with the trumpet blasts are plagues of hail, blood,
darkness, and locusts. This passage of Scripture reminds us of plagues unleashed on the proud
Egyptian pharaoh who oppressed God’s people and defied God’s command to free them.

If we continue reading Revelation, we see an eagle that flies by predicting three horrors or woes.
Locusts with scorpion tails crawl out of a smoky abyss. Two hundred million ferocious lion-
headed, horse-like beasts unleash with their riders to kill a third of the human race with fire,
smoke and sulfur. An angel with a small bittersweet scroll descends on the land. The sea roars to
the seven thunders and they roar back. Two witnesses, represented by two olive trees and two
candlesticks, are given the authority to destroy those that seek to destroy them.

This succession of events may be as puzzling to us as the seven rounds tramped around the Great
Wall of Jericho on the seventh day were to its inhabitants. Like the inhabitants of Jericho, we
might have a sense that surely these events hold great significance. Yet, what could that meaning
be?

Then, the seventh angel blows his trumpet. Similar to the shout of the Children of Israel in
conquest of Jericho we also hear loud voices in heaven: “The kingdoms of the world have
become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” (Rev.
10:15, MEV)

Like Jericho crumbled, the kingdoms of this world are crumbling. As we explore these passages
this week, we will come to a fuller understanding of the prophetic meaning of the seven trumpets
and discover a message of hope. Distinct themes will emerge: God fights for His people and He
will bring the excruciating problem of sin to an end.

Joneen Wilson, Colton, California, USA


Callout: God fights for His people
Sunday
February 10

The Seven Trumpets

Logos
Genesis 40, 41; Eph. 5:2; Revelation 8–11

In the Bible we encounter symbolic dreams as early as the story of Joseph in Genesis 40. You
might remember how the butler dreamed of grapes and the baker of bread. Then later Pharaoh
fetched Joseph out of prison to explain his two dreams of cows and corn.

In each case the symbols used in the dream pointed the interpreter to the true subject: a dream
about a baker featured bread, and one about a famine featured skinny cows, etc.
Daniel and Revelation follow that pattern. A vision about the sanctuary (Daniel 8) is presented in
sanctuary symbols (ram, goat, horns, “daily”) while one about the history of God's church
(Revelation 2, 3) features churches from Asia Minor. A prophecy climaxing with the Seal of God
and the resulting silence in heaven (Revelation 4–8:1) uses “seals” on a book as its leading
metaphor.

The "seven trumpets" of Revelation 8–11 is the largest of the prophecies. Here the history of the
fall of the Roman Empire is illustrated by warning blasts from the brass instrument. And why
illustrate the fall of the Roman Empire? In Daniel we find the familiar four empires, (Babylon,
Persia, Greece, Rome) followed by Christ’s Kingdom. When Revelation is written, three of those
empires are gone and one is already in decline. So the book of Revelation begins logically with
God’s judgments on the one remaining empire.

Accordingly, the first four trumpet messages (in chapter 8) foretell the punishment of western
Rome by barbarian tribes such as the infamous Vandals. The next two trumpets (Revelation 9)
introduce powers that God used to execute judgment on apostate Christianity. The rise of gun
powder, artillery, and also of the religious influence of the Muslim fighters are each described.

Our own day is pictured by the final trumpet, the seventh. Here the scope is broadened, and we
see that God will punish the world for its opposition to the Law of God.1

In our short study today we will look at two key points. First, from the introduction (Rev. 8:2–5)
we will observe Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary. Then, in the final section of the
prophecy (Rev. 11:15–19) we will look at how our choices today will affect our standing when
consequences come.

1
For a verse-by-verse commentary on all seven symbolic messages in this large section of the Bible, see the
following sources:
Uriah Smith, “The Seven Trumpets,” http://www.e-hope4all.info/media-eng/SevenTrumpets-UriahSmith.pdf;
Kenneth Mathews, Jr. Revelation Reveals Jesus, Volume 1, p.465-496.
Eugene Prewitt, “Revelation 8 to 11 and the Seven Trumpets,” http://www.bibledoc.org/revelation-class/revelation-
8-to-11-and-the-seven-trumpets/
“An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets” (1875),
https://www.whitehorsemedia.com/docs/an_exposition_of_the_seven_trumpets.pdf
Christ’s Ministry (Rev. 8:2–5)
When Jesus begins His work of being our Mediator, He is given “much incense.” These sweet
smells, offered with “the prayers of all saints,” remind us that we may not come into God’s
presence unbidden. It is grace, the sweet smell of Christ’s perfect righteousness, that makes our
prayers acceptable to God (Eph. 5:2). If Jesus Himself handles our prayers personally, how is it
that we pray so little? If we are bidden to come “boldly” before the Throne, why do we do so
only casually and occasionally?

In our passage we see the future end of Christ’s work as Mediator. The censer being cast to the
earth full of hot coals calls our attention to the reality that someday Jesus will step out of the
sanctuary.

By comparing Revelation 8:2–5 and 11:19 one can see that the history of God’s judgments on
earth occurs at the same time as Christ’s ministration in heaven. In other words, while Christ aids
His faithful persons here, He simultaneously punishes daring rebellion in the empires that
oppress them. These are the two aspects of His work, as Mediator and Judge, highlighted in
Revelation 8–11.

The Seventh Trumpet (Rev. 11:15–19)


This section begins with Jesus in heaven being given the kingdoms of this world. As He accepts
this honor, heaven rejoices that He is about to return to earth to finally take it back.2

When Jesus returns He will destroy those who by pollution or moral corruption have defaced the
planet (cf. Rev. 11:18).

The passage on the seven trumpets concludes with pictures of both the heavenly sanctuary (with
the Ten Commandments in the Ark) and of God’s punishments on earth in the seven last plagues
(compare 11:19 to 16:18–21). These are His two works. Soon both will be done.

Conclusion
While Jesus yet urges our prayers before the throne as if He was the one making the request, why
would we pray little? While His enemies are being judged, why would we neglect to become His
friend?

And if the small book of Revelation devotes a whole chapter to Islam, ought we not to be more
purposeful in sharing the teachings of the prophets with our Muslim peers? Perhaps your friends
would be more interested that you might guess in knowing that God used the forces of Islam to
punish the idolatry and sexual sins that characterized the “Holy Roman Empire.” And if you can
pivot from there to showing how the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation have accurately
foretold two millennia of history, you just might have a conversation that settles you in the faith
even as it invites others to share your faith.

2
For Ellen White’s comments on this section, visit https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/509.1
We pray too little. We bury our light under a bushel too naturally. The light and power of Jesus
are available through His ministration and through His Revelation. These are facts worth
pondering.

Eugene William Prewitt, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Callout: We pray too little.


Monday
February 11

Prayers of the Saints

Testimony
Rev. 8:1–4

“Consider this: No one humble, sincere prayer of faith [is] overlooked; every prayer is heard.

“The psalmist prayed: ‘Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me: give ear unto my voice, when
I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the
evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: keep the door of my lips.’

“We have every evidence that the humble contrite prayer offered to God is regarded as precious
in His sight. Not one is lost. The promise is: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall
find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that
seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of
you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? or if
he ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that
ask him?’

“This invitation is for all. The Saviour seeks to impress the truth by an illustration. Will the
father whose child asks for bread, give him a stone? If he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? This is presented as an impossibility. Drawing
the contrast between the heavenly and earthly parent, Christ adds, ‘If ye then, being evil, know
how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the
Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’”1

“The simple prayers indited by the Holy Spirit will ascend through the gates ajar, the open door
which Christ has declared: I have opened, and no man can shut. These prayers, mingled with the
incense of the perfection of Christ, will ascend as fragrance to the Father, and answers will
come.”2

“If you will find voice and time to pray, God will find time and voice to answer.”3

REACT
1. What does incense represent in the Bible, according to these passages?
2. What are God’s promises regarding prayer?
3. What role do we have in receiving answers to our prayers? (Hint: it’s very simple!)

Michel Lee, Austin, Texas, USA

1
Ellen G. White, Letter 65, 1898 August 23, 1898.
2
Ellen G. White, Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, 467.
3
Ellen G. White, My Life Today, p. 16.
Callout: Every prayer is heard.
Tuesday
February 12

Trumpets in the Jewish Daily Sacrifice

Evidence
Num. 10:1–10; Rev. 8:2–5

The prelude to the seven trumpets in Revelation 8:2–5 evokes specific imagery from the Tamid
(Jewish daily sacrifice). Each morning, a priest would fill a censer with incense and coals from
the altar of sacrifice. He then would carry this censer to the golden altar of incense inside the
sanctuary. At the end of the service, accompanying priests would blow trumpets.

In the Old Testament, trumpets were important components in Israel’s day-to-day life. They
accompanied the corporate prayers of God’s people, and rallied Israel together against their
oppressors. In Numbers 10, there are various purposes for which he trumpets were sounded.
Sometimes they were used for the calling of assemblies, while on other occasions for traveling.
Different groups were summoned by different calls. For example, one trumpet was for the
princes, while an alarm call for the entire camp of Israelites. The trumpets also had different
players for different times. Sometimes these instruments were played by the priests. Other
times, the trumpets were used for war.

In Numbers 10:8–10, God says that when trumpets are blown, He remembers His people.
Throughout the Old Testament, God uses the imagery of trumpets mixed with prayer to
precursor His people’s deliverance from oppression. Two examples are Judah’s deliverance from
Israel (2 Chron. 13:13–15) and Israel’s victory against Jericho (Josh. 6:20).

God also uses trumpets to sound warning. In Revelation, there is a warning or alarm of
approaching judgment, just as the daily, or Holy Place, service is about to end. After the
trumpets, the yearly, or the Most Holy Place, service of judgment is about to begin. These
trumpets are not sounds of victory, but call people to examine themselves, to repent, and to pray
that God would save them! Joel 2:1 states, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in
my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for
it nigh at hand.”

Just as trumpets and prayers lead to God remembering Israel’s oppression, this scene in
Revelation leads to God’s vengeance on the persecutors of the Christian church. The imagery in
chapters 8–11 signifies literal historical events starting with the time of John continuing up to
Christ’s second coming. We can see God’s mighty hand working in history to show His hatred
of evil and His remembrance of His people.

REACT
1. Have you ever felt like your prayers are not making it past the ceiling? What hope does this
passage give you?
2. Numbers 10 shows how trumpets marked important events in both the daily and annual
rhythm of the Jews. What are some “trumpets” in your own walk with God?
Jonathan Wheeler, Stanford, California, USA

Callout: He remembers His people.


Wednesday
February 13

Trust God through His-Story

How-to
Amos 3:7; John. 16:33; Rom. 8:28

We live in a time of great knowledge. And yet, there is still a lot of fear. Even among Christians,
many do not understand what God is doing behind the scenes. When disaster strikes, people run
to God and ask “why?”

The seven trumpets detail some of the darkest days in earth’s history. Yet in these end times,
God is still working. The King is on the throne. Soon, the seventh trumpet will sound and God
will take us home to live with Him forever. In the time before that heavenly reunion, how can we
learn to trust God—especially with all the terror of the seven trumpets?

Make God the most important person in your life. To live through the time of the seven trumpets,
we must make God our #1. It starts when we wake up in the morning. Thank God for keeping
you safe, ask Him for guidance and go through your day with His Word in your heart. This is
why personal Bible study and prayer are important.

Follow world events through God’s eyes. All around us headlines are blaring the latest crisis.
Whether it’s another war in the Middle East, a school shooting, or a political leader in trouble,
our world is fixated on the bad news. Yet, to understand what God is doing we need to look at
history and the story of the seven trumpets in light of the Great Controversy. The next time you
read a negative headline, ask yourself, “What is God doing?” The seventh trumpet is about to
sound and it is our job to keep the big picture in mind.

Recognize that suffering is temporary. One of the greatest theological controversies is over
theodicy, a word created to describe the process of trying to understand both the existence of a
good God and an evil world. God’s character is one of only love and love requires risk. God took
the risk of creating humans knowing that we could and even would fall into temptation. Yet
because of His sacrifice on the cross, a day will come when suffering will cease (1 Cor. 15:54,
55). The story of the seven trumpets is not the end but a continuation of God’s love being
worked out throughout history.

Share His-Story with those around you. Do you have friends who are worried as they see bad
things happening around them? Take a moment to share with them what God has done in your
life personally, what He is doing in theirs, and what He is doing in history. Encourage your
friends to trust God that in the end the seventh trumpet will sound and He will make all right.

REACT
1. What are some practical ways to see world events through God’s eyes?
2. How would you share with a friend your answer to why God allows suffering?
Jason Miller, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Callout: Soon, the seventh trumpet will sound and God will take us home to live with Him
forever.
Thursday
February 14

Christ’s Revelation: The Seventh Trumpet

Opinion
Exod. 20:18, 19; 25:10–22; Rev. 11:15–19

While the topic of the seven trumpets is one that evokes debates about interpretation, we often
neglect to see the main picture of the trumpets: Christ! Yes, it may sound cliché, and perhaps you
may be tempted to say “Everything in the Bible is about Christ.” However, Revelation 11:15–19
paints an image of thanksgiving, fulfillment and revelation of the greatest event, the second
coming. The seventh trumpet differs from the rest in that it solely focuses on revealing Christ
and His ultimate purpose for us, “that I may dwell among them” (Exod. 25:8).

Often times as we study Revelation and prophecies overall, we miss seeing Christ in the picture
when in reality none of it makes sense without Him. The seventh trumpet clearly reveals the
temple of God opened to us—sinful, weak, lowly human beings. The imagery utilized in verse
19 reminds us of the time when God spoke the law on Mount Sinai.

Fast forward centuries later, Christ once again is trying to abide and dwell with His children;
however, this time for eternity! Once the temple was open, the apostle John writes “the ark of
His covenant was seen” meaning His presence, in the Most Holy Place, was seen (Rev. 11:19).
Can you imagine this? The Israelites told Moses to deal with God because they were scared,
even after God had instructed Moses to tell Israel to prepare and cleanse themselves for three
days. After “preparing” they could not stand in the presence of God Almighty. Are we ready to
experience the seventh trumpet: the revealing of Christ Himself to humanity?

The Ark of the Covenant in Exodus contained the Law of God, His covenant, His character.
Similarly, in the New Testament God wants spiritual Israel to “keep the commandments of God
and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). History will repeat itself as God will have to cleanse the
earth from the pollution of sin just like Moses and the Levites had to “cleanse” Israel from the
idolatry and spiritual fornication committed with the golden calf. The beautiful thing about our
Maker is that He provides hope for all who desire cleansing and a renewal of the covenant with
Him. Christ is coming soon, the seventh trumpet is at the door! Are you ready for the encounter?

REACT
1. Why is understanding that Christ is being revealed in the seven trumpets an important aspect
of understanding the book of Revelation?
2. How can you prepare for the encounter with Christ?
3. Can you see more parallels between the Old Testament Israel and us in 2019? Based on these
parallels, how should we react to our current and future events?

Juan Antialon, Rahway, New Jersey, USA

Callout: Are we ready to experience the seventh trumpet?


Friday
February 15

Egyptian Plagues...Round Two?

Exploration
Revelation 8–11

CONCLUDE
History records a loving Savior entreating, warning individuals/nations to turn from their wicked
ways. Egypt, once a proud/powerful empire, bows to God’s command to, “…Let my people
go…”. The story is similarly repeated in Revelation 8–11.

Fire and hail, blood and smoke, falling stars and destroying armies fall upon a rebellious world.
Mercy slighted folds her wings to step down from the golden throne to give place to justice and
swift-coming judgment. DA 577.3 Finding yourself fighting against God? Surrender to Him and
Christ will “...receive you unto Himself that where [He is] there ye may be also.” John 14:3

CONSIDER
 Listening to the song “Mercy Said No” by CeCe Winans.
 Reflecting on how you daily respond to the grace and mercy of God.
 Interceding in prayer for your community and nation; for the salvation of souls while the
voice of mercy is still pleading.
 Sharing thoughts/lessons learned during a prayer meeting or Sabbath school.
 Studying the prophecies of the third angel’s message of Revelations 14:9 and prayerfully
sharing it with someone who has not heard it before.
 Memorizing Revelation 10.
 Baking cakes or cookies in the shape of the “little book” of Revelations 10:8–11 with the
icing inscription “Sweet to the mouth, bitter to the belly.” Ask friends and family to share
bittersweet life experiences and how God delivered them through it.?

CONNECT
Exodus 5–12; Revelation 8–11
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, chapter 63, “Thy King Cometh,” and chapter 64, “A
Doomed People.”

Wadenerson Saint Martin, Loma Linda, California, USA


lesson eight
February 16–22

Satan, a Defeated Enemy

“ ‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they
did not love their lives to the death’ ” (Revelation 12:11, NKJV).
Sabbath
February 16

Our Enemy

Introduction
Gen. 3:15

A survey conducted by the Barna Group in 2009 found that 40% of the Christians interviewed
believed that Satan is “not a living being but a symbol of evil.”1

Isn’t it sad that many Christians do not believe that Satan does exist? Four out of ten people is
not a small number. The Bible warns that Satan is real. The Word of God paints a picture of the
Devil as an extraordinarily powerful being that Christians must take seriously. He is present from
Genesis through Revelation.

In Genesis 3:15 we read about the curse placed on the enemy after the great deception in the
Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, Paul warns that our struggle with Satan is not against
flesh and blood, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, KJV2000).

Many times, the world in which we live is frightening, cold, unfriendly, and scary. These are
some of the signs that Satan really exists; he has something to do with these occurrences around
us. As Christians living in this time, we should know the enemy lest we fall for his traps.

The Bible details God’s promises, His plans, and purposes for His children. On the other hand,
the Word of God also teaches about the origins of the enemy, Satan, what he does currently, and
how we can avoid his snares. According to Ezekiel 28:15, Lucifer was created perfect, just as
any other angelic being. His name meant “Morning star” or “Light bearer.”

God gave Lucifer the duty of serving humanity by bringing light and truth to the world.
However, Lucifer chose to become Satan—the enemy of God. The Bible, through prophet Isaiah,
reveals that Lucifer rebelled against God. He developed a self-appointed purpose to go against
the principles of God; he brought confusion and destruction to mankind, and purposed to foil
God’s purpose.

As this world draws closer to an end, Satan knows too well that he is in the last lapse of the race
to deceive God’s children. Therefore, he uses every means possible to achieve his goals.
However, as God’s children, we have the assurance that Satan is a defeated enemy. This week,
our study will focus on how we, through God’s love and protection, can avoid the deceptions of
the enemy just before the close of time.

Anne Akoth, Pipeline, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: The Bible warns that Satan is real.


1
https://www.barna.com/research/most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exist/
Sunday
February 17

The Beginning of Satan’s Influence

Evidence
Rev. 12:9

In 1995, a leader in my local church had the opportunity to attend the General Conference
Session in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He came back to narrate a story how, upon their arrival at
the airport, they met a drunk man who could not pronounce his own name properly.

I knew that my friend was used to seeing drunken men and women even in our country. Yet,
somehow, he did not expect to meet one that far away from home. Well, drunkenness is just one
way by which Satan has affected the world.

We need to learn the characteristics of Satan and the methods he uses that make him so
convincing and deceptive. In 2 Corinthians 11:13, Paul warns Christians to beware of “false
apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” This teaching is
consistent with the fact that Lucifer transformed from an angel of light to Satan, the enemy.

In our society today, the works of Satan are evident everywhere. People have divergent views on
the purpose of life, the continuing decadence of moral and spiritual standards, values, and
lifestyles. Many people believe and practice contrary to what the Bible teaches.
In the midst of all this, God, through Christ has shown us the way to defeat the enemy. What we
learn from the Bible is different from what we see happening around us. This is because Satan
has constructed lies for every generation.

Ever since he was thrown from heaven, Satan has been using different methods to tell his lies.
He has invaded science, education, entertainment, religion, and other sectors to accomplish his
goals. However, God is aware that our enemy lurks around so He has given us guidelines in the
divine Word.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking
whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Those who live in areas infested with dangerous wild
animals know the precautions to take in order to avoid confrontation. Ephesians 6:10–18 teaches
about the armor of God, which we must take upon us to protect us from the enemy.

REACT
1. What precautions would you take if you were being hunted by a dangerous wild animal? How
would you apply your precautions to what we must do to protect ourselves against Satan?
2. How can we make sure that Satan does not invade our spiritual or moral space?

Nobert Kurema, Thika, Kenya

Callout: Many people believe and practice contrary to what the Bible teaches.
Monday
February 18

A Defeated Enemy

Logos
2 Thess. 2:8–12; Rev. 12:1–5, 13, 14, 17

The Woman and the Dragon (Rev. 12:1–5)


Revelation 12:1–5 describes the intention of the enemy. Satan intended to destroy Christ here on
earth, but when he failed in that attempt, he directed his efforts to the church.

The woman in the vision represents the entire family of God. It refers to the nation and people of
Israel as depicted in both the Old and the New Testaments. The woman also represents
Christians, later referred to as the children of the woman.

One lesson we can learn from this vision is that God preserves His people, even as Satan is
roaming about, ready to devour every child of God. It is also important to learn that Satan is not
fighting this battle alone. Represented as the dragon in the vision, John writes that the dragon’s
tail “swept a third of the stars in heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Satan has his agents here on earth, with whom he seeks to deceive the children of God and lead
them to his bandwagon. However, through his plan of redemption, God will lead His children to
the Promised Land. This is possible through the acceptance of Christ as a personal Savior. The
enemy tried to destroy Christ at His birth, during His ministry, and at Calvary—but his efforts
failed at each turn. Only through faith in Christ and obedience to God’s statutes can we too
defeat Satan.

The War on Earth (Rev. 12:13, 14)


This part of the vision describes the persecution of God’s people on earth. Satan is enraged about
the church and the followers of Christ. He is doing everything in his power to destroy them. In
addition, the enemy is aware that if he can destroy the church, he can suppress God’s program
and achieve his selfish objectives.

However, even as Satan tries to destroy God’s people, causing pain and affliction among them,
God’s miraculous hand will be upon the church to provide safety and protection. The Bible
explains that the woman was given wings of an eagle to flee to the wilderness and to escape the
tribulation mounted by Satan.

This vision provides a lesson for all Christians today, that even as we face challenges in various
circumstances including our health, education, ministry, or in our families, God is always there
with us every step of the way to ensure that we are safe and protected.

The metaphor of wings is used previously in the Bible, when the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh
(Exod. 19:4; Deut. 32:11). In this vision, it implies God’s protection over His church and His
children. The comparison of an eagle, which can fly above the clouds and a serpent that crawls
on the ground is an indication of God’s superiority over Satan. God has always provided wings
of an eagle to his loved children in the face of raging adversities.

Targeting the Remnant (Rev. 12:17)


The war with the remnant is an extension of Satan’s wrath. He launched attacks on Christ
Himself, who eventually defeated him on the cross. From Christ, Satan directed his wrath to the
infant church of Christ, trying to destroy Christianity at its inception. This led to the persecution
and scattering of the disciples and apostles.

Paul refers to Christians as the “seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:16, 29). Therefore, the war against the
remnant, the persecution mounted by Satan, and the violence are things that every Christian on
earth should expect. Even so, we need to understand the distinction between a true Christian and
a false one.

John writes that Satan is enraged with “those who keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Christ.” These are the true members of the Christian body, not just those who
profess it in word.

The Enemy’s Final Strategy (2 Thess. 2:8–12)


Knowing that his judgment is almost here, Satan now unleashes all his power. He implements all
sorts of lying wonders, and uses every deception of unrighteousness to lure people to eternal
death. However, we should note that even the end time strategy of Satan will not succeed against
God’s people.

From the beginning of time, God had a plan to deliver His people from the enemy. Therefore, it’s
only a matter of time before the enemy is consumed in the brightness of the Lord’s coming.
Satan is at war with us. A true follower of Christ living in this time must suffer. However, the
rewards for our suffering will be eternal. In a spiritual warfare with the enemy, we can only excel
if we keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Christ.

REACT
1. Which evidences today point to the raging battle between Satan and Christians? How can we
win the battles?
2. Which are some of the resources that we can utilize to help us keep the commandments of
God and to keep the testimony of Christ?

Seline Khavetsa; Pipeline, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: God’s miraculous hand will be upon the church to provide safety and protection.
Tuesday
February 19

Fitting Descriptions

Testimony
Revelation 12:1–5

“The child which was born to the expectant desires of a wanting and watching church, was our
adorable Redeemer, who is soon to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Herod could not destroy
Him; the combined powers of earth and hell could not overcome Him; and though held for a time
under the dominion of the grave, he rent its cruel bands, opened a way of life for mankind, and
was caught up to God and his throne. He ascended to heaven in the sight of His disciples, leaving
to them and us the promise that He would come again.”1

Satan looked forward to Christ’s mission to earth and his last chance to overthrow the plan of
salvation. He came to Christ with specious temptations; he tried destroying Him during His
ministry; and when he had succeeded in laying Him in the tomb, he endeavored, in malignant
triumph, to hold Him there. But in every encounter, the Son of God emerged triumphant and He
sends back this gracious promise to His faithful followers: “To him that overcometh will I grant
to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His
throne” (Rev. 3:21).

“Again, there seem to be a number of instances in which Satan is spoken of as defeated or cast
down. One was his first rejection from heaven; another, when Christ overcame him at His first
advent; and there will be another in the future, when he is cast into the bottomless pit, and shut
up for a thousand years. And on each successive occasion, we behold a regularly increasing
limitation of his power. He falls a degree lower in every succeeding combat.”2

“If the view is correct that we have already reached the generation which is to witness the
closing up of earthly scenes, this warfare against the truth cannot be far in the future…This
remnant is characterized by the keeping of the commandments of God, and having the testimony
of Jesus Christ.”3

REACT
How can we uphold the commandments of God in faith and practice?

Brenda Kurema, Thika, Kenya

Callout: There seem to be a number of instances in which Satan is spoken of as defeated or cast
down.

1
Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 549.
2
Ibid., p. 551.
3
Ibid., p. 557.
Wednesday
February 20

How Can We Resist The Enemy?

How-to
Rev. 12:11

We have choices to make in life. Choices about our studies, our jobs, our families, how we spend
our money, and many more. Meanwhile, Satan is on the loose, seeking to deceive us. How then,
can we be sure that we are doing the right thing—not being led astray by the Devil?

In Revelation 12:11, we learn that we can only defeat the enemy “by the blood of the Lamb.”
Christ defeated Satan both in heaven and on earth. Therefore, armed by the blood of the Lamb,
we can be able to make the right choices in accordance with God’s will; we can be able to apply
God’s truth to every situation that we encounter and in every decision that we make.

The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ overcomes the power of Satan (Rev. 12:11). The
accusations of Satan against us are useless as long as we purify ourselves with the blood of the
Lamb. Moreover, Satan will not have power over us forever. His fate is already decided, upon
the return of Jesus Christ.

Christ already paid the penalty for our sins. Even if our sins are as red as scarlet, by the death of
Christ on the cross we can be reconciled to God through the blood of the Lamb “in whom we
have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”
(Eph. 1:7).

It is not the literal blood of Christ that cleanses and saves. It is His death on the cross on our
behalf, the judgment, and the weight of sin He carried in our place, that saves us. Here is what
we must do to resist the devil:

Know the price of our salvation: Usually, the highly prized possessions get the best protection
and maintenance from us. Our salvation cost Christ His life. He died on our behalf to assure our
salvation. We should do everything possible to safeguard our loyalty to Christ.

Be prayerful: Prayer and praise are excellent swords against the Devil. We should use them at all
times, in every situation.

Use the Bible as a guide: “Through your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every
false way” (Ps. 119:104, KJV 2000).

REACT
How does the Devil accuse us before God, and how can we come clean on the accusations? (cf.
Job 2:5; Rev. 12:10)
Patience Joyner, Kilimani, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: Meanwhile, Satan is on the loose, seeking to deceive us.


Thursday
February 21

My Weapon against the Enemy

Opinion
Rev. 12:17

I recently watched one retired Major General from my country explaining how he disarmed
thousands of armed rebel youth in a peacekeeping mission in Liberia. Interestingly, at some point
he said that he did not carry a weapon whenever he went to meet the rebels. I wondered how he
managed to perform his duties without the rebels raising a finger against him.

Anyone fighting a war knows very well that fighters must arm themselves with appropriate
weapons. When Satan lost the war in heaven, he was thrown down here on earth. Consequently,
Satan took the war to “those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of
Jesus Christ.” As a follower of Christ, I’m aware of this war.

To protect myself from Satan, combat his endless deceit, and to fight the war effectively, I need
effective weapons. The first weapon I have is the blood of the Lamb. Christ shed His blood on
the cross to save me. The death of Christ assures me of forgiveness for my sins (Rom. 8:31–34).
Yes, I am a sinner, but Satan, my accuser, should know that the blood of the Lamb covers me.
My sins were nailed to the cross at Calvary and God will no longer hold them against me.
Besides, the blood of the Lamb gives me the power to overcome any snare that Satan might set
up against me.

My second weapon is the testimony of Jesus Christ. This weapon refers to my words and my
actions. We are called to be the light and salt of the world (Matt. 5:13–16). As such, we are
supposed to let our light shine through our words and deeds. By sharing the testimony of Christ
with the world, we reclaim territory from Satan and this intimidates him. The testimony of Christ
is powerful, life changing, and indisputable.

The third weapon I have against the enemy is the spirit of selflessness. The Bible teaches that the
slain saints were willing to give up anything for Christ. They gave up their possessions, their
reputation, and even their lives. In the footsteps of the saints, we would rather die, than to prove
unfaithful to our Savior. Selflessness is a quality of Christ that we must embrace if we are to
defeat the Devil and triumph with Christ.

REACT
1. What are some of the things we must give up to be faithful to Christ?
2. What can we learn from the lives of the slain saints such as Stephen, to help us gain victory in
the war we are currently fighting?

Silas Onyango, Dagoretti, Nairobi, Kenya


Callout: Yes, I am a sinner, but Satan, my accuser, should know that the blood of the Lamb
covers me.
Friday
February 22

Defeating the Enemy

Exploration
Rev. 19:10

CONCLUDE
No enemy comes to be defeated. An enemy comes to fight, and to subdue the opponent. To
defeat an enemy, one must have the required fighting skills, the best weapons, and stamina to
fight. We are in a war with Satan. Armed with his best tools, he is ready to attack any time. On
our part, we need the most powerful tools to combat his equipment. Fortunately, God has given
us the best message—that Satan is already defeated. As long as we allow Christ to live in us and
to fight the war on our behalf, victory is ours.

CONSIDER
 Writing the word DEFEAT as an acronym. Use each letter to form a quality that we need
to defeat Satan. For example, letter “D” could mean, “Depending on Christ.”
 Drawing the image of a nice-looking person with the qualities of the devil. Connect your
artwork with what agents of Satan do to lure followers of Christ.
 Asking a veteran or a retired soldier what preparations one needs to make before going
into war. Check out the preparations and precautions you need to observe in your
spiritual warfare with Satan.
 Making flash cards with the following words in bold: THOUGHTS, WORDS, and
DEEDS. Think of how you can put your thoughts, words, and actions in line with the
commandments of God and the testimony of Christ.
 Writing a short story about your journey with Christ, citing the challenges and sufferings
you have encountered because of His work. Consider how your challenges and sufferings
compare to those the apostles encountered.
 Drawing a timeline of the order of events regarding the war between Satan and God’s
people, from the Garden of Eden to our time. Include how God intervenes to protect and
save His people from perishing at the hand of Satan.
 Painting the scenes in Revelation 12:1-6. Reflect on the meaning of your painting and use
it to illustrate John’s message.

CONNECT
Daniel 9:24–27; Matthew 2:16–18; Mark 4:35–41.
Hans K. LaRondelle, The End-time Message in Historical Perspective, Ministry Magazine
(https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1996/12/the-end-time-message-in-historical-
perspective)

Erick Onyango, Embakasi, Nairobi, Kenya


lesson nine
February 23–March 1

Satan and His Two Allies

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her
offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”
(Revelation 12:17, NKJV).
Sabbath
February 23

God Wins

Introduction
Rev. 13:8

Living in the world today, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sin and evil that meets us at every
turn. It’s easy to think that there is no possible way truth could overcome the sheer weight of
error that is propagated throughout our world on a daily basis. And when we turn to Scripture,
this seems to be affirmed.

In Revelation 13, we find a beast rising up out of the sea (13:1), empowered by the dragon, Satan
(cf. 12:9), to blaspheme God and everything He stands for (13:5). To make matters worse, this
beast is even given power to persecute God’s faithful people (13:7). This beast, the very
instrument of Satan on earth, is not only approved of by the inhabitants of the world; it is
worshipped—by all the world (13:3, 4). What hope do God’s people have of remaining faithful
through such catastrophe? Has evil triumphed beyond the point of no return? Is God unable to
stem the tide of man’s rebellion?

We discover the beautiful answer in Revelation 13:8, where Scripture tells us that all humanity
will worship the beast—all, we find, except those whose names are “written in the book of life of
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” What a beautiful promise: Satan will never
subdue those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ.

Yes, Satan is certainly active in our world today. Yes, the forces of error and evil may appear
overwhelming at times. Yes, it may often seem as though truth cannot triumph. But the beautiful
and reassuring truth we find in Scripture is that those who trust in God have no reason to despair,
for God will preserve them.

In fact, when we turn back a chapter to Revelation 12, we discover that God has already won the
victory over Satan (12:7, 8). The very being who wreaks so much havoc in our world today, who
leads us to believe that evil will surely triumph—he’s a defeated foe! In fact, it is precisely
because he is defeated, because he knows that his clock is ticking, that he is so intent on
deceiving and destroying humanity (12:12). He’s trying to take us down with him.

The battle may appear overwhelming at times, but from Scripture, we know who will win. God
has already gained the victory. The only choice we have to make is whether we will choose to
remain faithful to the Victor or choose to give up in despair and join the losing side. As we
explore the unfolding story of this great battle between Christ and Satan, let us choose to remain
faithful to the One who sacrificed all to lead us to victory.

Seth D. Roberts, Walla Walla, USA

Callout: Satan will never subdue those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Sunday
February 24

The Dragon Strikes Back

Logos
Rev. 12:17; 13:1–18

Overview (Rev. 12:17)


Revelation 12 describes the conflict between the dragon (Satan) and the followers of Jesus from
the time of Christ until the end of the 1260 years. In the final verse of this chapter, we find the
dragon “enraged” with the woman and preparing to strike back against the followers of Jesus.
Revelation 13 broadly outlines the sweep of this final attack.

Revelation 13 also marks a significant change in Satan’s strategy. Up until this point, Satan’s
primary tactic has been coercion. “One might observe that the word ‘deceive’ does not occur at
all in the historical section of Revelation (Revelation 4–11). But it is used regularly in the
eschatological section (12–20) to describe Satan’s end-time activities in preparing for the final
crisis.”1 What Satan could not win through brute force he now seeks to win through duplicity. He
does so by enlisting the service of two great beast-powers; together, they form a powerful three-
part alliance—a sort of false trinity—to try to stamp out the people of God once and for all. We
will now look at each of these three powers individually.

The Dragon (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7–9; 13:2, 4)


The dragon is explicitly identified as Satan, and he originated in heaven (Rev. 12:7–9). However,
we see elsewhere in Revelation 12 that the dragon also works through human powers; for
example, he tried to destroy the baby Jesus (Rev. 12:4) using the pagan Roman Empire (cf. Matt.
2:13, 16). What does the dragon want? Worship is one of the key themes in Revelation, and we
see in Revelation 13:4 that the dragon’s plan includes getting the world to worship him.

However, to get this worship Satan must employ trickery. Few would worship Satan knowingly
or voluntarily. Thus, Satan gives his power, throne, and authority to an agent, the sea beast, who
receives worship on Satan’s behalf (Rev. 13:2, 4). In order to ensure that the world worships this
sea beast (and therefore himself), Satan also uses a second power, the land beast (Rev. 13:11,
12). Both these beasts are powerful figures, but they are simply used by the dragon as tools in his
deception. Although the dragon disappears into the shadows and is rarely seen out in the open, in
Revelation 13 he is still the mastermind working behind the scenes through these two powers.

The Sea Beast (Rev. 13:1–10)


The second power of Satan’s false trinity is the sea beast. The sea beast receives its power,
throne, and authority from the dragon; and it even resembles the dragon (Rev. 12:3; 13:1). Just as
children’s applause for a puppet performance is really applause for the puppet master, so the
worship of sea beast is really worship of the dragon.

1
Ranko Stefanovich, Plain Revelation (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2013), p. 149.
The actions of the sea beast include blasphemy against God and persecution of the saints, which
matches Daniel 7:24, 25. This beast is the same power Paul described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
One of the key distinguishing characteristics of the sea beast is that it persecutes for 42 months—
the same time period as the 1260 days that the woman was persecuted in Revelation 12:6. This
sea beast power, acting as an agent of the dragon, is the apostate Roman Church. For 1260 years,
from the Papacy’s establishment as the supreme ecclesiastical power in AD 538 to the abduction
of the Pope in AD 1798, Papal Rome reigned. Revelation 13:3 notes that the church received a
deadly wound; but how would this wound be healed, and what would happen next? The answer
is closely connected to the next power, revealed in the rest of Revelation 13.

The Land Beast (Rev. 13:11–17)


The third member of the counterfeit trinity is the land beast. This beast differs from the first in
several ways. First, it arises from the land rather than the sea, indicating that it would originate in
a very different area from Papal Rome. Second, it arises around the time that the first beast
receives its deadly wound in 1798. While the first beast had a long history, this second beast is
new. Finally, while the first beast was terrifying in appearance, this second beast appears lamb-
like and harmless. The only nation fitting such a description is the United States, which was
founded on the premise of providing religious freedom. But while appearing lamb-like, this beast
speaks like a dragon—in other words, it ultimately becomes a mouthpiece for the dragon and a
tool in his scheme.

The land beast also has the same authority as the sea beast: Authority from the dragon.
Ultimately, the second beast is the powerhouse causing the world to worship the first beast and,
by extension, the dragon himself. The land beast is also instrumental in causing the world to
make an image to the first beast and causing all to receive the mark of the beast; the former is the
restoration of the medieval church’s religious system, while the latter is its counterfeit Sabbath.

Practical Application
Satan’s hatred of Jesus in Revelation 12 motivates him to attack His followers using deception
and counterfeit Christianity. Satan’s powers of deception are quite formidable—nearly all the
world will fall for his cunning plan. However, Jesus has revealed the devil’s plan centuries
beforehand, thereby demonstrating that His power is greater than even the greatest schemes of
Satan. Praise God; Satan cannot take Jesus by surprise! The great lesson we must take from
Revelation 13 is that we must choose Christ today and depend upon His wisdom and His power
to stand amid this final deception.

REACT
1. Why does Satan modify his tactics in preparation for his final attack? What does this teach us
about what to expect from him as he is working in the world today?
2. In a world where Satan is manipulating great powers to suit his purposes, it is crucial to
remember that God is still in control. What Bible promises can you claim to give you peace and
strength in difficult times? (For instance, Daniel 2:20–22.)
3. How should this knowledge about the future affect our daily lives? Should it cause us to live
differently? Think of some specific examples.

Tanner Martin, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA


Callout: Both these beasts are powerful figures, but they are simply used by the dragon as tools
in his deception.
Monday
February 25

A Pestilence

Testimony
Rev. 13:1–4

“In chapter 13 is described another beast, ‘like unto a leopard,’ to which the dragon gave ‘his
power, and his seat, and great authority.’ This symbol, as most Protestants have believed,
represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power, seat and authority once held by the ancient
Roman Empire.

“‘Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.’ And, says the prophet, ‘I saw
one of his heads as it were wounded to death.’ And again: ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go
into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.’ The forty and two
months are the same as the ‘time and times and the dividing of time,’ three years and a half, or
1260 days, of Daniel 7—the time during which the papal power was to oppress God's people.
This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, AD 538,
and terminated in 1798. At that time, the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal
power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity
shall go into captivity.’”1

The first few verses in Revelation 13 pack in a lot. For those living in the late 1700’s and early
1800’s, the French had just captured the Pope and there was love lost. It seemed impossible that
Rome would recover. Yet, little by little, so slowly that it was almost imperceptible, relations
were repaired.

Today, how often do we make little choices or compromises that seem not to matter much, but
before we know it we are neck deep in a bad habit or an ill-advised friendship? It is important,
especially in the little things of life that we make sure to stick to the Word of God and what He
has told us. It is important to prepare ourselves for what is to come, but also to keep the devil and
sin from sneaking into our lives and changing us from the image of Christ to the image of Satan.

REACT
1. Think of a time when you gave in just a little bit to sin. Did it feel good? Did it make you
think that it was not so bad and you would sin again just in this one area if the opportunity came
again? Because of that slip up did you rationalize in your mind that it was ok to sin just a little bit
in another area?

Seth Shaffer, Collegedale, Tennessee, USA

Callout: It is important, especially in the little things of life that we make sure to stick to the
Word of God

1
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p.439.
Tuesday
February 26

Doppelgangers – The Satanic Counterfeit

Evidence
Daniel 7

As we learned in the Logos section, the 13th chapter of the Revelation of Jesus is quite an
essential part of the book. It reveals the satanic triad. This section shows that Satan, the old
serpent, and dragon, is looking to imitate the heavenly trio’s work. It focuses first on revealing
the character and work of the sea beast. Some identifying factors for this beast are the 1,260
days, the mortal wound, and the claim for worship. It is clearly trying to be a doppelganger of
Christ—a duplicate of sorts.

It is important to note the similarity between this beast and the horn from Daniel 7. They are
identical in timeframe, purpose, and boastfulness. When you analyze the characteristics of this
beast, you can identify it as the apostate church from AD 538–1798. It tries to duplicate Christ as
the source of authority and power (monitoring of the Scriptures), convinces others that it is the
only way to heaven (indulgences), persecutes the saints, and speaks of itself boastfully. Thus,
one can see through history the fulfillment of this vision.

The second accomplice is described in verses 11–18. This second beast is representing another
power. As with the first beast, the second beast is also trying to duplicate the work of another
member of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit. Primarily, it points to the first beast (the Christ
counterfeit) and exalts it. Moreover, it has power and makes sure to demonstrate it in an attempt
to copycat the miracles performed by one of the Persons of the Godhead. Also, it marks those
who worship the beast, in a similar manner that the Holy Spirit seals those who keep the
commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.

The earth beast can be identified as another entity in history, the United States of America—a
country that looks like a Lamb, but speaks like a dragon. With the proclamation of so-called
religious liberty, the collaboration with ecumenical movements, and plurality, the U.S. is a fit
candidate to play an important role at the end of the Great Controversy. Its function and
influence will bring attention to the sea beast and its purposes in the future.

All in all, Revelation 13 is about how the doppelgangers are trying to emulate Christ and the
Holy Spirit. We ought to be acquainted and full of knowledge about the Godhead in order to
recognize these sophisms from the enemy and his associates.

REACT
1. How can we teach the ministry of the Holy Spirit in a more concrete way?
2. Which member of the Godhead does the Devil imitate? In what ways?

Jose N. Briones, Berrien Springs, MI, USA


Callout: The second beast is also trying to duplicate the work of another member of the Trinity—
the Holy Spirit
Wednesday
February 27

Loving the Truth

How-to
2 Thess. 2:9–11; Rev. 13:11–14

In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, John sees two very different beasts: one that comes up
out of the sea, and another that arises out of the earth. The second beast is presented as a
deceptive and controlling power, whose influence results in many people giving homage to the
first beast. At the end of the chapter, John notices that anyone who is deceived by the second
beast receives a mark, either in their right hand or in their foreheads.

While probably no one wants to receive the mark of the beast, most people are unaware of how
to protect themselves from deception. After all, if a person is deceived, is it really his or her
fault? How can an individual avoid being taken in by lies? Here are a few practical ideas:

Cultivate a love for truth: Second Thessalonians 2:9–11 describes the reason why so many
people will be deceived by the beasts of Revelation 13. Paul states clearly that God allows
people to be deceived when they refuse to love the truth when it is shown to them. If we don’t
love the truth the only other option is to love a lie.

Respond to the convicting power of truth: Have you ever felt like you needed to do something
but for one reason or another you never acted on that conviction? First Corinthians 6:9, 10 points
out that a key area of deception believing that we can continue to live a life of sin and still
experience salvation. Truth will sanctify us if we are willing to respond to its conviction (John
17:17).

Exercise belief and faith in Jesus: Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Failure to love and respond to truth is failure to love and respond to Jesus Himself. He alone is
able to transform our lives and cover us with His righteousness. When we love and believe in
Jesus, He assures us that we will experience eternal life (John 11:26).

Experience assurance of salvation every day: Paul states that the Holy Spirit is able to assure us
that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). If we continue to love and respond to the truth that is
Jesus, we continue to hold onto our position as heirs of the Kingdom of heaven. To bear fruit that
testifies of a Christian life, Jesus encourages us to abide and remain in Him (John 15:4).
Salvation is an experience that will keep us from deception only as long as we remain in the
experience.

REACT
1. Why do you think deception is such a central aspect of the mark of the beast in Revelation 13?
2. If people are deceived into receiving the mark of the beast, how is it their fault?

Esther Louw, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA


Callout: How can an individual avoid being taken in by lies?
Thursday
February 28

Lessons from the Beast

Opinion
Rev. 13:1–18

In studying Bible prophecy, it’s easy to get bogged down by dates, times, and figures and lose
sight of the message of the prophecy. Revelation 13 actually describes two beasts with multiple
characteristics. What does God want us to learn from the descriptions of these beasts?

One of the lessons God teaches through this prophecy is the fact there is a right and a wrong way
to worship. While we know that the first beast represents the Papacy, this question of worship
goes far beyond which church holds our membership records. This prophecy teaches us that no
matter how sincere we may be, there are certain forms of worship God cannot accept. This
principle is also brought out in the experiences of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1–7), the prophets of
Baal and Elijah on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:20–39), and even in straightforward proverbs like
this one: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12;
16:25, NIV). Revelation 13 revolves around questions of worship and is a call to examine if our
worship is right.

The collision of true and false worship in the passages above also clarifies that in the end there
will only be two sides—we either worship God or we worship the beast. In the end, there is no
middle ground. But this is true even now. Matthew 6:24 reminds us that “no one can serve two
masters.” God wants whole-hearted surrender. If we aren’t completely committed to God, we
aren’t really committed at all. On the other hand, Revelation 13:16 tells us that the beast accepts
partial commitment. The symbolism of the forehead and hand represents our thoughts and
actions. The beast is fine with either one—you don’t really have to be convinced his way is right,
as long as you live like it.

The warnings of Revelation 13 are followed by a complementary message in the next chapter.
Revelation 14 repeats many of the cautions of Revelation 13 and expands on the consequences of
our decision. However, it also reminds us that it is possible to live a truly committed and faithful
life. May God help us to be counted among the faithful.

REACT
1. Revelation 13 reveals that there can be different motivators in worship. What is the basis of
true worship and how can we be sure that our attitude toward spiritual things is not based on
tradition, pride, fear or force?
2. There is a tendency to take pride in correct belief alone. What are some practical ways that our
belief should be manifested in the way we live?

Daniela Pusic, Keene, Texas, USA

Callout: If we aren’t completely committed to God, we aren’t really committed at all.


Friday
March 1

“Action = Truth”

Exploration
Revelation 13

CONCLUDE
John the Revelator identifies the sea beast (13:1) as a power that “…opened his mouth in
blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in
heaven.” The land beast is also described as a false teacher (13:14). What is specified even more
than these beast’s blasphemies are their violent and forceful actions against the world and the
people of God. (Rev. 13:7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 17). For John, a lack of correct Christian doctrine is
important, but even more emphasized and repeated in Revelation 13 is the fact that these beasts
act contrary to the character of God which gives human beings freedom, even if that freedom is
against Him. As Christians, it is important that we not only speak the truth, but act the truth. Our
God is not merely a collection of beautiful ideas, but is a Person of beautiful action, freedom, and
love.

CONSIDER
 Listening to “Jesus and John” from the album From the Ground, by Lisa Gungor. How
does Christianity often appear to people in the world, both historically and presently?
 Pondering ways that we may appear freedom-giving or forceful to those we are trying to
reach. How can we continue to offer truth in a mission-driven, intentional way and also
extend God’s love and freedom to those we are trying to reach?
 Making two lists: One list of the things that you feel that you could compromise or agree
with non-believers on, and another list of things that you cannot compromise on because
of your faith in Jesus. How might you be able to utilize both of these lists to converse in a
friendly, winsome way with non-believers?
 Going online and looking for stories of people who are currently oppressed by
persecution. What would your faith look like in their circumstance?
 Watching ‘Skit Guys - God’s Chisel’ on YouTube. Compare and contrast God’s ways of
working on our lives with Satan’s ways of working on our lives? What is the fundamental
difference?
 Writing a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all of the positive ways that you enjoy the
freedom he extends to you.

CONNECT
Amos 5:21–24; Daniel 7:8, 11, 12; John 4:19–26; Romans 6:15–23
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, chapter 2, “Persecution in the First Centuries,” and
chapter 39, “The Time of Trouble”; Steps to Christ, p.18–22.
Francis Shaeffer, How Should We Then Live, chapter 1.
David Kinnaman, unChristian, chapter 8.

Samuel Smith, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA


lesson ten
March 2–8

God’s Everlasting Gospel

“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the
faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12, NKJV).
Sabbath
March 2

Removing the Chains

Introduction
2 Cor. 4:3, 4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 14:6, 12

We were sitting in an empty classroom at Michigan State University. Two people, on two
separate life paths, with two completely different world-views. As Josh continued to tell me in
full detail how much he despised Christianity, I asked him one of my last survey questions,
“What evidence would you need in order to believe in a God or a higher power?” With his mind
already fully made up on being an atheist, he plainly stated, “There is no evidence. Even if He
presented Himself to me now, I wouldn’t believe it.”

How much it broke my heart hearing that sentence, because I saw the chain of lies that he was
trapped in. A chain of lies that most times, our hearts won’t let us break out of. In fact, they were
the same lies that I used to be trapped in, and that much of our world is trapped in today too. It’s
the kind of blindness that is talked about in 2 Corinthians. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is
veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not
believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine
on them” (2 Cor. 4:3, 4, NKJV).

It is a blindness that Satan has spread throughout our homes, schools, work places, in our
politics, relationships, cultures, societies, and our world, and that he continues to spread with
every passing second. Thankfully the Bible says in Revelation, “Then I saw another angel flying
in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—
to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (14:6, NKJV). The only message of hope that is able
to lift the veil, and heal the blind.

Revelation brings light to the fact that Satan will seem to have the victory in the last days by
getting most of the world to choose to worship the beast and receive his mark. But God, with all
of His glory, will have His remnant. The Lord will have His people who will stand against the
chain of lies that Satan has encompassed our world with. In the Three Angel’s messages we see
that God’s people will stand firm on His truth, and the everlasting gospel will be preached. “Here
is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of
Jesus” (14:12, NKJV).

During this study, that is what we will be seeking to have—a desire to be God’s remnant people,
and to understand the message that Revelation gives to us in these last days. God’s desire is that
no one should perish, but that all would come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9) Thankfully, with that
beautiful desire, He made a way for every single one of us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Halee Boughton, East Lansing, MI, USA

Callout: What evidence would you need in order to believe in a God or a higher power?
Sunday
March 3

God’s Rallying Cry

Evidence
Rev. 14:6

General Dwight Eisenhower had been preparing for months to make an attack on the Nazi’s
stronghold in Normandy. His well-trained allied forces were waiting for the marching orders and
D-Day was set in stone. On June 6, 1944, he wrote these fateful words, “The eyes of the world
are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.” He
then added; “Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and
battle-hardened. He will fight savagely…But this is 1944! The tide has turned! The free men of
the world are marching together to Victory!” 1

In the great conflict between Christ and Satan, D-day is not a future occurrence it is now. The
enemy of souls is fighting savagely, because, in biblical terms, “He knows he has but a short
time” (Rev. 12:12, NASB).

Revelation 13 unfolds the actions of Satan, who has devised plans to secure worship for himself
using church and state. Both champion the cause of creating a mark (a false day of worship) that
will inevitably be the test for every nation, tribe, tongue and people (Rev. 13:7, 8).

Heaven’s response to the crisis is found in Revelation 14:6. The tide turns as it outlines God’s
rallying cry prior to the second coming of Christ. This message is delivered universally, as
indicated by the angel flying in the midst of heaven. “With a loud voice” tells us that the
message will be given so that all will hear. The message includes a call to worship the only true
God on the true day of worship. This means then that all men must receive light in order to
choose the right side in this great conflict.

In Greek, the word angel translates as messenger; one who brings glad tidings. As Seventh-day
Adventists, we cannot read this passage without understanding that God has called us to
proclaim a distinct message to all people. He has also promised us His presence (Matt. 28:18–
20). The tide turned long ago, and though there is a battle-hardened enemy who will fight
savagely, we have a victorious Christ who stands by us as we fulfill His Great Commission.

REACT
1. What are some biblical examples of God’s promised assurance in fulfilling the gospel
commission?
2. Thought difficult, how can we be sure that sharing our faith will make in impact in our world?

1
D-day statement to soldiers, sailor, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force, 6/44, Collection DDE-EPRE:
Eisenhower, Dwight D: Papers, Pre-Presidential, 1916-1952; Dwight D. Eisenhower Library; National Archives and
Records Administration
Jermaine Gayle, Bath, MI, USA

Callout: Heaven’s response to the crisis is found in Revelation 14:6.


Monday
March 4

On Display

Logos
Rev. 14:6–12

Many Christians want to live in anonymity away from public scrutiny. They might feel insecure
being on display as to what a true follower of Jesus looks like and may not think themselves
good enough or capable enough to live as a demonstration before others. Yet the Three Angel’s
Messages prepare a people who are on display before the universe just the way God intends them
to be.

The First Angel (Ezek. 20:12; Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:19; 10:31; Rev. 4:11; 14:6–7)
Revelation is designed to get God’s people ready to see Him at His return. At the heart of the
book, three angels sound the most important message for those living on the edge of eternity.
Their bold proclamation is a call to restore lost truth and warn the world against false worship

The first angel sounds his message with a call to fear, glorify and worship God (Rev 14:7). Some
might think it strange that God wants us to fear Him. While the Greek word for fear can mean
“to be afraid of one” it can also mean, “to treat with deference or reverential obedience.” 1 God
wants us to reverence Him by obeying as He leads us.

This leads into the call for us to glorify God (Rev. 14:7). He is looking for people who don’t
compartmentalize Him to one day a week but honor Him with all of their being (1 Cor. 10:31).
God wants us to recognize that we are His and His Spirit dwells within us (1 Cor. 6:19). He is
asking for a people to make His glory the focus of their lives. Every decision made is a chance to
lift God up and do His will. It’s about living our life as an act of worship before Him (Rom
12:1), which is the third component of the first angel’s message.

God is calling people back to Sabbath worship (Rev. 14:7) as a sign that they are completely
devoted to following Him (Ezek. 20:12). In writing Revelation 14:7 the apostle John clearly
alludes to Exodus 20:11—the Sabbath commandment, not just as a day to worship but also as the
day to worship in recognition of our Creator. God is worthy of our worship because He is our
Creator (Rev. 4:11) and this sign of God’s power is something Satan directly attacks.

A careful comparison of Revelation 14:7 and Exodus 20:11 will demonstrate that John
intentionally deviated from quoting the entire verse in Exodus. He says, “Worship Him that
made heaven and earth, the sea” and instead of finishing with “and all that in them is” he says
“and the fountains of waters.” Why? “Fountains of waters” are called out in the context of
judgment. “The hour of God’s judgment has come” (Rev 14:6).

1
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., White, W., & Vine, W. E. Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New
Testament words, (Nashville: Nelson, 1985).
John is making a reference back to Genesis 7:11 when the fountains of God’s judgment were
poured out on the earth during the flood. John is saying, in the last days there is going to be a
judgment and if you want to be ready when Jesus comes you need to be worshipping Him,
honoring Him and being loyal to Him no matter the cost.

The Other Angels (Rev 14:8–11; 18:2, 3; 20:9)


The second angel’s message announces that God has triumphed over Satan by announcing,
“Babylon is fallen” (Rev. 14:8). Babylon’s name means confusion. The ancient city’s teachings
on death, image worship and sun worship constituted a false religious system that stood directly
against God’s truth. In Revelation, Babylon is the symbol for all false, man-made religious
systems that spread confusion among all nations (Rev. 18:2, 3). This is a message that God has
emerged victorious and truth has prevailed.

The third angel sounds the most serious warning ever given to man against worshipping the beast
(Rev. 14: 9–11). It is a warning that must be taken seriously with consequences of “fire and
brimstone” (Rev. 14:10). The scene of that torment is given in greater detail in chapter 20 where
the wrath of God is poured out in the form of a devouring fire (Rev. 20:9). Those who worship
the beast will not be written in God’s book of life. They have made their decision to follow their
own will rather than God’s. As a result God casts them away from His presence. “Anyone not
found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15, NKJV).

The Everlasting Gospel (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 14:4, 6, 12, 14, 15)
As these three angels give their messages, God is telling people all over the world what His
faithful followers look like. They are described as commandment keepers and possessing the
faith of Jesus Christ (Rev. 14:12). This is the culminating experience of accepting the gospel and
following all Bible truth. Revelation describes this outworking of truth in the heart with the
phrase describing its fullness, “the everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6). The gospel is what
transforms our lives into faithful followers of Christ for the world to see.

We become the demonstration to the world of biblical Christianity. God’s people are not hiding
in fear but proclaiming with boldness the everlasting gospel to the world (Rev. 14:6; Matt.
24:14). Revelation 14:4 reads, “These are the ones…” and verse 12 continues to point out God’s
people, “Here are those…” God has a people prepared to meet Him when He comes back and
this group is on public display. When the gospel transforms us, the world cannot help but notice!

REACT
1. What would keep you from wanting to live your life as a demonstration of the everlasting
gospel before the world?
2. In what way is the gospel best communicated: (a) through spoken words (b) through
intentional acts of kindness (c) at church (d) in my everyday life? Why?
3. What is the relationship between the everlasting gospel and judgment in the first angel’s
message?

Daniel McGrath, Cedar Springs, MI, USA

Callout: Every decision made is a chance to lift God up and do His will.
Tuesday

March 5

Faithful Men

Testimony
Rev. 14:6–12

“The theme of greatest importance is the third angel’s message, embracing the messages of the
first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and
demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly,
prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths; and our power to learn and comprehend
will be taxed to the utmost.”2

“To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished.
God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He
was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make
ready for the coming of the Lord.

“The first of these warnings announces the approaching judgment. The prophet beheld an angel
flying ‘in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on
the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice,
Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters’ (Rev. 14:6, 7).

“This message is declared to be a part of ‘the everlasting gospel.’ The work of preaching the
gospel has not been committed to angels, but has been entrusted to men. Holy angels have been
employed in directing this work, they have in charge the great movements for the salvation of
men; but the actual proclamation of the gospel is performed by the servants of Christ upon the
earth.

“Faithful men, who were obedient to the promptings of God's Spirit and the teachings of His
word, were to proclaim this warning to the world. They were those who had taken heed to the
‘sure word of prophecy,’ the ‘light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the
daystar arise’ (2 Pet. 1:19). They had been seeking the knowledge of God more than all hid
treasures, counting it ‘better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.’
Proverbs 3:14. And the Lord revealed to them the great things of the kingdom. ‘The secret of the
Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.’ Psalm 25:14.”3 2

REACT
1. What are some things that we may be doing that are not “building for eternity?”
2. Why is it so important that man was entrusted with the proclamation of the gospel? What
could we as Christians be missing out on by not fulfilling our responsibility?

2
Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p. 212.
3
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 311, 312.
Isaí McGrath, Cedar Springs, MI, USA

Callout: We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths
Wednesday
March 6

Accepting His Provision

How-to
Matt. 13; Rev. 14

Christ’s atonement on the cross is an offer of salvation to anyone who is willing to accept it.
Imagine someone drowning in a lake when, suddenly, a life preserver lands in front of them. The
option of rescue is available and it is now up to the drowning individual to reach out and grab a
hold of the life preserver. In the final events of the great controversy, God presents a final
message of mercy to the entire world, giving them the opportunity to be saved.

In the end times, God has a final sorting process to figure out who has taken hold of that life
preserver and who has not. Just like fruit farmers ship their produce to facilities with quality
control conveyer lines, those who are bad will be sorted out from the good. How can we make
sure that we accept His provision and deny the mark of the beast? Here are some suggestions.

Study the Bible (Ps. 119:11): There is a storm of false doctrine ready to ensnare anyone who
does not diligently study their Bible. Startling statistics reveal that 80% of Christians do not
study their Bibles. We must have a good understanding of Scripture to not be lured away by
unsound doctrine. The best way to discern between truth and error is to be so familiar with the
truth that when the slightest bit of error is presented we will easily be able to tell the difference.

Focus on Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18): One reason why we may reject salvation is because we love sin.
As we behold the Lamb of God on the cross of Calvary, we will fall more in love with Him and
the things of this world will grow strangely dim. We are counseled to spend a thoughtful hour
each day in contemplation of the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes.1

Look forward to the second coming of Jesus (Luke 12:35–40): In 2 Peter chapter 3, we learn that
at the end of time there will be a lot of doubt in regards to the second coming of Jesus. If we
have the correct understanding of the times we are living in, our hearts will be filled with joy as
we look forward to Jesus’ second coming. It will be difficult for doubts and discouragements to
steal our blessed hope and for us to become lazy in our devotion to God.

Watch and pray (Matt. 26:41): As the end draws nearer, God’s people will be faced with a
tremendous amount of temptations and deceptions. Our only safety will be found in our reliance
on God’s ability to get us through.

Surrender (Prov. 23:26): Like small children who are unfit to use dangerous power tools, we are
unfit to possess our own hearts. We must surrender them to God. The greatest deception comes
from within (Jer. 17:9).

REACT
1
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.83.
1. Why do you think deception is so dangerous?
2. What can you do to counteract Satan’s efforts to deceive the masses?

Chris Matts, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Callout: God has a final sorting process


Thursday
March 7

The Final Pages-From Fear to Hope

Opinion
2 Tim. 1:7; Rev. 1:3; 12:12

We believe that we are now living in the time of the end. In the book of Revelation, we are
blessed to have access to God’s unfolding plan and the events surrounding His second return.
Personally though, the study of Revelation hasn’t always been a top priority in my devotional
life. When I was younger, it seemed scary and overwhelming and I only read it with all the lights
on. As I grew in my understanding of Christ and His love, I realized that in Revelation, Jesus is
revealing the greatest part of our story…the end. Have you ever been reading a really good story
then decided not to finish it? That seems very unlikely. If we love the beginning and the middle
of the Bible so much (enough to base our lives on it and call ourselves Christians), then we
should be even more excited to explore and understand the ending as well.

Revelation points forwards to the time when we will be able to live in perfect harmony with God
for all eternity. However, for God’s purpose to be fulfilled, it requires a complete transformation
of this world, from one of sin and destruction, where Satan’s intent has been laid bare, to love
and perfection, where God’s character is fully vindicated. When viewed in the context of God’s
love for us, we can see His redemptive plan. Maybe some of us are afraid of the future because
of uncertainty, but in Revelation, God has shown us the future to gives us a hope and peace that
will sustain us through the difficult times.

Whether by lulling us into a state of complacency or by misrepresenting the message so that we


are too afraid to read it, Satan puts great effort into convincing Christians not to open and study
the book of Revelation. However, in Revelation 1:3 Christ promises us that we will receive a
blessing if we focus our study on the prophecies and the words written in the book. It is of
utmost importance then, that we navigate and understand the contents of its pages with surety in
God’s plan for our future success. Let us go forward, not in fear, but in certainty that our God
reigns above and our future is sure.

REACT
1. The book of Revelation has some intense moments. How can we present the truth of those
elements while keeping Christ’s love at the center of the story?
2. How can we keep the study of Revelation an integral part of our devotional lives, so we can be
better prepared to face the uncertainties of living in the end times?
3. How can you share the importance of reading the book of Revelation with someone else?

Athena Heredia, Rockford, MI, USA

Callout: Maybe some of us are afraid of the future because of uncertainty


Friday
March 8

The Everlasting Gospel

Exploration
Matthew 24:14

CONCLUDE
In this world full of blindness and confusion, God is calling and empowering us to be His
witnesses to share the everlasting gospel in the context of the Three Angels’ Messages to all
those in our sphere of influence and beyond. This gospel is something to be obeyed for there are
serious repercussions if it is not. (2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 14:9–11) It is a call for people
everywhere to take sides between the great drama of the ages to choose to be loyal to God and
worship Him or worship the beast and his image.

CONSIDER
 Designing a collage of hand drawings or photos depicting each of the Three Angels’
Messages to present to your class or at an art show.
 Composing a song based on Revelation 14:6–12 to share with your Sabbath School class,
church or at your school’s talent show.
 Reaching out to a friend who might be struggling to make a decision to accept Jesus as
their Lord and Savior. Share what impact the everlasting gospel and the cleansing blood
of Jesus has made in your life. Ask them to make a decision to follow Jesus.
 Inviting a friend to attend a Daniel & Revelation prophecy seminar to learn how the Bible
prophecies and God’s promises can bring comfort and encouragement and take away any
fear you might have of the last days.
 Giving a Bible study about the Three Angel’s Messages to a friend.
 Memorizing Revelation 14:6–12.
 Preparing a sermon series on the Three Angels’ Messages to preach at a week of prayer at
your school or at your local church.
 Creating a list of your fears of the last days. Put each fear on one side of an index card.
On the back side of each card, put a Bible promise that will help remind you of God’s
love and care whenever that particular fear may arise.

CONNECT
Mathew 24:9–14.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 308–312; Chapters 36 & 37.
Russell Burrill, Hope When the World Falls Apart, Chapter 25.
Raymond F. Cottrell, Beyond Tomorrow, pp. 285–332.
J.N. Andrews, Three Messages of Revelation 14.

Benjamin Garcia, Saginaw, Michigan, USA


lesson eleven
March 9–15

The Seven Last Plagues

“ ‘Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all
nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested’ ”
(Revelation 15:4, NKJV).
Sabbath
March 9

Pausing to Praise in the Plaguelands

Introduction
Rev. 15:4

Welcome to the “Plaguelands” of Revelation 15–16. What makes the Plagueland chapters so
strange is how they challenge and defy our imagination. Surely, when God sends the seven last
plagues He will finally let heaven’s CGI team loose, right? We expect explosions. We expect
asteroid artillery.

What we find in the Plaguelands is so different. Those looking for zombies or post-apocalyptic
wastelands will have to wait for Revelation 20 because everything about the seven last plagues is
wrapped in the imagery of worship. And that seems totally out of place.

The plague-bearing angels come from the holiest of holies in the heavenly temple—God’s very
presence (15:5, 6). They wear white, priestly clothes. The temple is filled with the glory of God
while the redeemed praise God’s “righteous acts” and ask: “Who will not fear you, Lord, and
bring glory to your name” (15:4)? After the third angel turns the rivers to blood, he, too, pauses
to praise God: “You are just in these judgments” (16:5).

The strange thing about these plagues is that there’s actually more praising than plaguing going
on here. How is it that earth’s darkest moment shines so bright and holy in heaven?

If I were writing this scene, I’d have God quietly kick the angels out of heaven, saying
something about needing to be alone right now. He would dim the lights before facing His
rebellious children below. The whole wayward story of woe would be summed up in a single
tear that ran down His face. Then, and only then, would He stretch out His hand. Yet, before He
can summon the word of death, He would have to look away. This was never part of the plan.

That’s how I would have written the scene: a solemn, strange, reluctant justice. Never would I
have imagined this as a moment of worship. That the angels are singing while the world is
burning seems to feed the prejudice of Christianity’s critics.

Yet look more closely at this worship: Heaven praises God because the justice so long prayed for
has finally come. The angel of the bloody waters says God is just because “they have shed the
blood of your people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they
deserve” (16:6). These plagues represent the end of God’s longsuffering with sin. No more will
He tolerate murder. No more will He have to watch His children being raped, disfigured, or
killed by drunk drivers. These lonely centuries have been spent in blood. However one interprets
the plagues (literally or figuratively), the goal of the plagues is clear: God is done with evil.

Matthew Lucio, Peoria, Illinois, USA


Callout: God is done with evil.
Sunday
March 10

God’s Wrath: The Pain of Searing Loss

Logos
Rev. 15, 16

The word wrath appears 256 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Webster’s dictionary
defines it as “1: strong vengeful anger or indignation 2: retributory punishment for an offense or
a crime: divine chastisement.”1 Today we will focus on the second definition, and how the seven
last plagues revolve around the wrath of God being poured out as a response to Satan’s attacks.

Giving up the Holy Ghost


Paul, in Romans 1, reminds us that God’s wrath is poured out on the ungodly and unrighteous
(v.18). Several times throughout the chapter he tells us what will happen to those individuals
who continually say no to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. God “gives them up” to their own
devices and cannot work with them. Because He is a gentleman and does not force His love upon
anyone, His only choice is to depart from them. God’s wrath is synonymous with the
unpardonable sin and the reality that He must eventually separate Himself from those who
continue in their rebellion against He who is the source of life.

The Seven First Plagues


The seven last plagues are foreshadowed in the Exodus experience. Pharaoh was given multiple
opportunities through Moses and Aaron to surrender his heart, but instead, we are told that
“Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he harkened not unto them, as the Lord has said” (Exod.
8:19). Pharaoh’s defiance stands in stark contrast to how God’s end-time Church will react. They
have believed the gospel (Rev. 15:3). And they sing the song of Moses because like the Israelites
who rejoiced with singing when they were brought out from the bondage of a cruel Pharaoh, they
have been delivered from the oppressive regime of the adversary of God.

Paradise Lost Forever


The seven last plagues describe what will happen to those who fully reject the gospel; the life,
death and resurrection of our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. Because they refuse the Light, they
come under judgement (John 3:19). They will be “tormented with fire and brimstone in the
presence of the holy angels,” not because God is malicious or sadistic, but because of God’s
righteous presence in His people. In contrast to the darkness of sin, the light of Christ will be like
a burning fire, convicting the lost of their transgressions. Yes, there will be physical
manifestations of destruction but it is all a result of a corrupt spiritual condition.

Each vial/bowl/cup of wrath that is poured out shows us how deep the condemnation is felt by
the lost. Vials one through four tell us that to some the weight of unresolved sin becomes a
“grievous and noisome sore.” No matter what human means are tried, like the Egyptians, they
cannot scrape away the sickness of their sin. To others Christ is discarded like a lifeless “dead
man” who has no power. They forfeit ever being remade into the image of God, that is, “living
1
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrath
souls.” Those who have violently rejected the gospel, shedding “the blood of saints and
prophets,” now despair at their impending doom. Even those who claimed loyalty to but
misrepresent the name of Jesus will also suffer this fate. They have cursed and “blasphemed the
name of God...and they repented not to give him glory” (Rev. 16:9).

Can you see why God is angry? The Father, Son and Spirit are not only infinitely saddened by
those who will miss out on the New Earth for all eternity. God is infuriated by a system that has
killed His children. In the fifth and sixth plagues, He is ready to take action by pouring out His
vials on the counterfeit trinity; the corrupt dragon, beast and false prophet. As Cyrus the Great
once sieged Babylon by diverting the Euphrates River away from the city, it will be clear that
Jesus, the Living Water, and all the blessings that He once offered freely to the lost, will now be
out of reach. The enemy’s kingdom will dry up and fall. Everyone’s choices will be solidified
but Satan will use this one last opportunity to deepen the deception. Just as a frog catches prey
with their tongue, Satan will continue speaking lies to trap the lost and rally them, one last time,
against the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed is He that Watcheth


Finally, in verse fifteen, Jesus assures us that it is the lost who will be caught off guard suddenly
when He comes as a thief. We are given a sobering warning to keep our garments, not of cloth
but of His Righteousness, so that we may not suffer the same fate as those who are left in a
naked, fallen state without Christ. Satan may try to exploit our human weakness and shame us
into identifying with our past guilt, but we can know that Jesus has rescued us. May we take hold
of the life giving power of the Everlasting Gospel so that we will never have to suffer separation
from God, the bitter cup that Christ has already endured on our behalf.

REACT
1. What is the difference between human wrath and God‘s wrath?
2. What other similarities can you see between the plagues of Egypt and the seven last plagues?
3. How do we avoid being among those who receive the seven last plagues?

Andrew Carroll, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

Callout: The enemy’s kingdom will dry up and fall


Monday
March 11

God’s Acting Weird

Testimony
Ezek. 33:11

“To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked’ (Ezek. 33:11). The Lord is ‘merciful and gracious,
long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,…forgiving iniquity and transgression and
sin.’ Yet He will ‘by no means clear the guilty’ (Exod. 34:6, 7). ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and
great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked’ (Nah. 1:3). By terrible things in
righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of the
retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the Lord’s reluctance to execute justice.
The nation with which He bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the
measure of its iniquity in God’s account, will finally drink the cup of wrath unmixed with
mercy.”1

“The God of justice did not spare His Son.... The whole debt for the transgression of God's law
was demanded from our Mediator. A full atonement was required. How appropriate are the
words of Isaiah, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.’ His soul was made
‘an offering for sin.’ ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities’
(Isa. 53:10, 5).

“Jesus suffered the extreme penalty of the law for our transgression, and justice was fully
satisfied. The law is not abrogated; it has not lost one jot of its force. Instead, it stands forth in
holy dignity, Christ's death on the cross testifying to its immutability. Its demands have been
met, its authority maintained.

“Was the penalty remitted because He was the Son of God? Were the vials of wrath withheld
from Him who was made sin for us? Without abatement the penalty fell upon our divine-human
Substitute.

“Hear His cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). He was treated as
a sinner, that we might be treated as righteous, that God might be just, and yet the justifier of the
sinner….

“Language is too feeble for us to attempt to portray the love of God. We believe it, we rejoice in
it, but we cannot comprehend it.”2

REACT
1. How do you see God’s love reflected in His judgements?
2. How are you preparing yourself to escape the judgement that is soon to come?

1
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 627.
2
Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 15.
Weslie Onsando, Manor, Texas, USA

Callout: The law is not abrogated; it has not lost one jot of its force.
Tuesday
March 12

Sealed Instead

Evidence
Rev. 7:1–3; 14:9, 10

During ancient times, seals were used to indicate that a document was official and had the
approval of a king or governing body. Each governing body had their own unique seal, and it
was clear where the seal came from. It can be thought of as a type of signature. The United
States still possesses and uses an official Great Seal (as does each individual state). “Currently
the seal is affixed to instruments of ratification of treaties; proclamations of treaties; full powers;
exequaturs; presidential warrants for the extradition of fugitives from the justice of the United
States; and commissions of cabinet officers, ambassadors, foreign service officers, and all other
civil officers appointed by the president whose commissions are not required by law to issue
under another seal.”1 In other words, seals still hold their basic purpose; to authenticate.

In the book of Revelation we are presented with two different indicators of who you stand with
at the end time: the seal of God and the mark of the beast.

In its Strong's concordance entry, the seal referred to in Revelation 7:2 is defined as a means by
which to authenticate.2 And when something is authenticated, it is proved to be genuine or true.
Once a letter or decree had been impressed with the seal of the king, it could not be undone or
revoked (cf. Esther 8:8). So, once God's people in the end times are authenticated by His seal,
they are approved by Him and will not be refused into His Kingdom.

The second indicator is the mark of the beast. The greek word, charagma, used in this text for
mark is used the same way as the Hebrew word qa`aqa` in Leviticus 19:28, which tells us not to
make any marks on ourselves. Throughout Scripture this word is consistently used in a negative
way. To date, when something or someone has a mark, it has been singled out by a marksman or
sharpshooter for death.

Though the outlook for those who will receive the mark of the beast is grim, God has given us an
alternative choice, as He always does. He has even delayed the destruction of the earth until His
people are sealed (Rev. 7:3), because He wants to give us every possible chance to choose life,
instead of death.

REACT
1. What are some things we mark ourselves with today that are not of God?
2. How can we make sure we will be sealed in the end, and not marked?

1
The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, "Great Seal of the United States," Encyclopedia Britannica.com, accessed
April 8, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Great-Seal-of-the-United-States.
2
G4973 - sphragis - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 8 Apr, 2018.
https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4973&t=KJV
Destinie Candis, Plant City, FL USA

Callout: God has given us an alternative choice, as He always does.


Wednesday
March 13

Attention! Attention!

How-to
Rev. 16:1–16

God is expert at getting our attention. Whether He speaks, acts, or commands nature, there is no
question that He is able to make Himself known to mankind. Despite this reality, the possibility
of missing out on the message God has for us is still very great.

So great, in fact, that Revelation 16 describes a group of people experiencing the seven last
plagues, yet still unwilling to acknowledge God! How is this possible? Some would even think
it’s absurd! However, learning the lessons that God calls our attention to now, will not only help
us understand who He is but help us trust Him as He leads our future.

Learn to let go of control. From shifting the dial on the thermostat, to manipulating natural
processes for our benefit, humanity has become consumed with controlling every aspect of life.
Psalms 37:5 reminds us to “commit [our] way unto the Lord: trust also in him; and he shall bring
it to pass.” Begin now asking God to help you make decisions in your life. Bounce your ideas
and opinions off God in prayer. Is this what the Lord would have you do? Wait for His response,
and trust His control.

Our response to uncontrollable circumstances reveal our character. Do we worry? Do we


continuously doubt and question God’s role in leading our lives? James 1:2, 3 encourages us to
appreciate the difficulties in our lives, and receive them as an opportunity to confront the often
hidden imperfections in our character. When you face your next obstacle, try praising God
despite the difficulties you face. Mark the changes in your attitude. God will not only lead you
through the obstacles, but will teach you how to respond to them.

Make a regular practice of acknowledging God in your life. Through praise, repentance, prayer,
service, and the study of God’s Word, we acknowledge God’s presence in our life. When we
accept God’s presence individually, we are able to see more clearly how He operates in the
world around us. Often, our lack of acknowledgement can cause more unwanted self-inflicted
hardship. “...let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually...giving thanks to his name”
(Heb. 13:15).

REACT
1. What do the seven last plagues reveal about those who experience them?
2. When God calls for our attention, what are the different ways people respond to Him?

Michelle Odinma, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA

Callout: Our response to uncontrollable circumstances reveal our character.


Thursday
March 14

Love is a Plague

Opinion
Rev. 16:10, 11

Preachers tend to avoid the seven last plagues like, well…the plague. We avoid talking about the
plagues because they can raise serious questions about the character of God. When the fifth angel
darkens the kingdom of the beast, we are told that “people gnawed their tongues in agony and
cursed the God of heaven because of their pains… but they refused to repent.” I’ll be honest: my
first reaction to that is, “Who would want to repent and love a God who plagues them?”

Part of our problem with the God of plagues is that we expect Him to contradict Himself. We
want the loving, Gandhi-God of non-violent love who might weep over a mosquito’s demise. But
we also want the just, Gandalf-God who rides in with the cavalry to destroy our oppressors. In
other words, we want a bloodless cross. We want salvation without suffering; we want a hell
without fire. We want justice without punishment.

Yet still, how can the Creator kill the fish (third plague) or superheat the sun (fourth plague)?
How can He inflict sores on His own children? We should be careful about offering suspiciously
easy answers to get God off the hook. There’s a reason Isaiah describes God’s judgment as “his
strange work” and “his alien task” (Isa. 28:21).

With all of this in mind, there are three things I believe we need to understand about the plagues:

God’s goal is not to inflict suffering: God is not a masochist (Ezek. 33:11). In Isaiah, God
promises to send hail in order “to sweep away your refuge, the lie” (Isa. 28:17). In other words,
God sometimes sends physical judgments in order to undermine the lies we have built our lives
upon so we can build our lives on a better foundation.

God’s goal is not to drive the wicked to repent: On the contrary, we are told twice in Revelation
16 that the people refused to repent. The final plagues then reveal to the universe that everyone
who would have turned to God already has. His mercy would have no effect.

God’s goal is to liberate His people: Revelation’s plagues are modeled after Egypt’s plagues. In
both cases, the goal of the plagues is to free God’s people from the suffocating grip of
oppression. Pharaoh Satan will never “let [God’s] people go.” The cross proved this. It is time
for Satan and his followers to bear the consequences.
Friends, only a loving God will give justice.

REACT
1. How would you answer a critic who says the plagues prove God is cruel?
2. Is there a better word to use than “plague”? How would you describe these judgments?
Laura Lucio, Peoria, Illinois, USA

Callout: We want salvation without suffering


Friday
March 15

Preparing for the seven last plagues

Exploration
Rev. 16:1

CONCLUDE
In the time of Moses, God used plagues to help harden the heart of Pharaoh allowing the
Children of Israel to be set free. These events symbolized what would happen in the last days.
The angles were told in a great voice saying “pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the
earth” (Rev. 16:1). Once the plagues are poured out there may be a few who try to reason them
away. However, it is only through Christ and His transforming power that we can be safe during
these end time events. Are you ready?

CONSIDER
 Composing as list of each plague and the supporting texts and share how we can know
what to do when that time comes.
 Creating a song using the seven plagues and sharing it with your Sabbath School class or
your youth group.
 Studying the account of the plagues in Egypt and the seven last plagues and creating a
poster to put up in your classroom.
 Writing a prayer to help you be ready for the end time events covered in this lesson.
 Creating a game with the seven last plagues and the verses they are found. You may want
to use note cards and make seven cards with one plague each, then seven cards with the
verse of each plague.
 Making a short video containing what you learned this week and how it has helped you
be ready. You could also use social media to share what you have learned with your
friends.

CONNECT
Exodus 40:34, 35; 1 Kings 8:10, 11; Revelation 7:1–3; 14:9, 10; 15:1–8
Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 201; The Great Controversy, pp. 613–614.
Walter J. Veith, Amazing Discoveries: The 7 Last Plagues

Levi Collins, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, USA


lesson twelve
March 16‒22

Judgment on Babylon

“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in
her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has
remembered her iniquities’ ” (Revelation 18:4, 5, NKJV).
Sabbath
March 16

The Process of Judgment

Introduction
Rev. 17:1, 2

A news item online caught my attention. A judge in South Africa had ruled against two
paramedics who abandoned an elderly, sick woman in an ambulance and disappeared. Delivering
the judgment, the judge ruled that the conduct displayed by the paramedics contravened the
patient’s dignity and right to proper health care.

The court heard that back in 2009, two paramedics were assigned the duty to transport the sick
woman to a health facility in Port Shepstone—a task that they never completed. Instead of
handing over the patient to the hospital, the paramedics left the patient in the back of the
ambulance in the hospital’s ambulance depot.

In his ruling, the judge delivering the sentence said, “The conduct of the employees is
unacceptable and unprofessional. They abandoned a vulnerable, sick elderly woman in an
ambulance so that they could knock off. The treatment the patient received is inhuman and
degrading.”1

Before this court ruling, the paramedics were dismissed from their positions in the hospital, but
challenged their dismissal in a labor court, which ruled that they be reinstated. This is just one
episode of a worldly judgment, which is often riddled with twists and turns.

A judgment is an explanation that a court of law gives at the end of the hearing of a case. The
judgment also explains why the court made a particular order. In some instances, a judge or a
team of judges delivers reasons for the judgment.

In many instances, worldly judgments are not always just. Human judges are prone to threats,
bribery and bias, while other legal machineries are prone to manipulation by interested parties. In
the end, many worldly court rulings turn out inaccurate and unfair. We can draw a difference
between worldly judgments that take place in worldly courts manned by humans, and a heavenly
judgment that God Himself delivers. In a heavenly judgment, nothing is compromised. Unlike
worldly judges whose judgment can be compromised, God’s decision is final. The Bible in
Galatians 6:7 teaches that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

This week we study about the final judgment that God will deliver upon Babylon. May the Holy
Spirit lead us to a deeper understanding.

Benard Mutuku, Makueni, Kenya

1
https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-04-06-judge-has-harsh-words-for-paramedics-who-
abandoned-elderly-patient/
Callout: They abandoned a vulnerable, sick elderly woman in an ambulance so that they could
knock off.
Sunday
March 17

Babylon of Our Time

Evidence
Rev. 14:8

Jesus told a parable about the Kingdom of heaven being like a man who planted good seeds in
his field, but at night an enemy came and planted tares among the wheat, and went his way
(Matt. 13:24, 25). Today that parable is true.

Religious Babylon, much as it existed in the time of John, is with us in the 21st century. With
what goes around in religious circles today, we may say that we are living in the times of the
great apostasy. Today, many churches proclaim Christianity but practice a different thing. This
simply fulfills what Paul wrote: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in
accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside
to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3, 4, NASB).

As predicted in 2 Timothy, many professedly Christian churches today openly approve of


homosexuality while others have embraced the theory of evolution. These activities only point to
the workings of the dragon through the beast. It is clear that Satan is working day and night to
mix up things, confuse people, and lead them to make decisions contrary to what the Bible
teaches.

In Revelation 14:8, John describes a scene of destruction upon Babylon. Apparently God will
finally judge the world. However, before He destroys a wayward society forever, God has given
His children a chance to repent of their sins and turn to Him. Only those who will remain
unrepentant to the end will face destruction with the Prince of Darkness.

What we see today in society and in the church are warnings of an impending judgment that God
will bring upon this world. Unfortunately, many people are still in the dark and choose to ignore
the warnings. God is becoming increasingly displeased with what the world terms as modern
civilization.

The Bible teaches that in the last days people will be ignorant of the impending judgment (Matt.
24:37–41; 2 Pet. 3:3–10). The moral and spiritual corruption that are becoming more prevalent,
disbelief in Christ’s second coming, and the emergence of false christs, all confirm that God will
soon pronounce judgment on the world.

But as children of God, we have the assurance that God will intervene and give us the power to
survive. Ours is to accept the truth and live by it.

REACT
1. In what ways do you see 2 Timothy 4:3, 4 being fulfilled?
Joseph Wambua, Makueni, Kenya

Callout: Only those who will remain unrepentant to the end will face destruction with the Prince
of Darkness.
Monday
March 18

Babylon the Harlot

Logos
Rev. 13:1–8; 17:1–3, 12–15

Judging the Harlot (Rev. 17:1, 2)


Revelation chapter 17 reveals the great judgment that God will finally pass on the apostate
powers that caused pain and affliction on God’s people and His church. Reading the chapter
restores our hope that no matter how much we suffer in this world, God will soon deliver justice,
and the enemy will be destroyed forever.

In verse one, John speaks of adultery, fornication, or harlotry. In the Old Testament, the wise
man Solomon warned against any union with a harlot (Prov. 6:20–24). In this vision, John uses
the imagery of adultery to symbolize the height of apostasy. Apostasy existed in John’s day and
it continues to exist in our generation as well. Babylon the harlot represents the spiritual and
moral degradation that plagues the church. Instead of accepting Christ as the lawful Husband, the
harlot decided to go to bed with multiple men of diverse backgrounds.

The scenes in this vision speak to our generation; the moment we reject Christ in our lives, we
adopt the harlot system that prompts us to surrender to the will of different masters. When that
happens, we allow money, education, entertainment, and others to take the place of Christ in our
lives.

The Prostitute and the Beast (Rev. 17:3)


In Revelation 13:1, we learn about the characteristics of the beast. In chapter 17 John sees a
woman on a beast. The woman is presented in all manner of adornment: gold, precious stones,
pearls, and purple adornment. This picture points to worldly honor and riches, which the apostate
church can command.

In his efforts to lure Christ to his side, Satan promised Him worldly riches and power (Matt. 4:8).
The presentation of the woman and the beast mirrors the same things that the world continues to
offer, if only we can reject Christ.

As for her residence: The woman sits upon the beast. What about her diet? She feeds on the
blood of the saints.

From this vision, it is evident that the woman and the beast are symbols of worldly powers that
that continue to work against God’s people. Persecution of Christians is something that still takes
place in many parts of the world but it will reach its climax when the apostate church unites with
global political powers to execute religious laws that everyone must follow.

The good news is that amidst all the tribulations, both the harlot and the beast will be condemned
and sentenced to a penalty that will see them destroyed forever (Rev. 2:22, 23).
The Beast Identified (Rev. 13:1–8)
John ends his vision in chapter 12 with an angry dragon that goes to make war with those who
keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ. Chapter 13 of Revelation reveals a
beast rising out of the sea. It is here to perpetuate the story of the dragon. John writes, “The
dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2).”

Through the beast, the dragon found the best means to advance his powers of persecution. In
addition, he found the best vehicle to rise to power so he could be worshipped. In the vision of
the beast from the sea, John describes a situation in which a worldly power is arising, which
Satan will use to execute his plans.

The prophecies of Revelation are closely linked to those of Daniel (Dan. 2:42; 7:7, 8; 9:27;
11:36). Daniel 7 helps us interpret the meaning of Revelation 17. For instance, by connecting
Revelation 17:1–5 with Daniel 7:2, 3, we can find an indication that John refers to Babylon,
Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

For Christians, knowing the beast and his agents are of most importance. Once we know the
beast and all that he uses to trap us, we can find the best ways to avoid his traps through the Holy
Spirit.

The Fall of Babylon (Rev. 17:12–15)


The culmination of events in Revelation 17 shows that God has been involved in the affairs of
the world, not leaving His children alone to suffer at the hands of the enemy.

When the dragon discovers that he is no longer able to execute his advances through the worldly
powers, and he senses that he cannot destroy the people of God, he launches his attack in a
different way.

On the surface, the beast and his followers appear stronger than the Lamb and His army.
However, the Lamb finally gains victory over the beast. Christ, the Lamb, is destined to reign.
From this vision, we learn that Christ is the Lord of lords and King of kings. No kingdom or
lordship can rise against His.

REACT
1. What does the fall of Babylon teach us about the character of God and how He intends to
conclude the history of this world?
2. When do you think the battle between the dragon and the Lamb will end? Support your answer
with the scripture.
3. What assurance do we have that even in the midst of tribulations Christ is present among us?

Augenia Nzuve, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: Through the beast, the dragon found the best means to advance his powers of
persecution.
Tuesday
March 19

On The Judgment Day

Testimony
Jer. 51:13

“At the close of the thousand years, Christ again returns to the earth. He is accompanied by the
host of the redeemed and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty He
bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as
the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The
righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease
and death.”1

“Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power
and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the
wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he
determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his
banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan's captives. In
rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his
suggestions and to do his bidding.”2

As Satan and his army prepare for the final attack, they seem unaware of what awaits them; the
hour of their judgment has just come. In the end, they will be consumed in eternal fire.

“‘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 honor, and glory, and power, be
unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever’ (Rev. 5:13). The
great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse
of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life
and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the
greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy,
declare that God is love.”3

This is just a glimpse of what will happen on that final Day of Judgment. One thing is sure:
Christ and His faithful shall carry the day.

REACT
Why can’t everyone get saved and inherit the kingdom of God?

Josephine Nduku, Makueni, Kenya

1
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 662.
2
Ibid., p. 663.
3
Ibid., p. 678.
Callout: From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their
unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.
Wednesday
March 20

How Can We Avoid the Beast?

How-to
Rev. 17:3

Revelation reveals that the dragon has distributed power to his agents worldwide, with whom he
works to deceive God’s people. Even among Christians, there are sons and daughters of evil.
They are tares growing together with the wheat. However, when the time comes, Christ will send
His angels to gather the weeds, burn them, and harvest the wheat (Matt. 13:36–40).

But before Christ comes to take us home, we must avoid being part of the spiritual rot that takes
place in our churches today. There is a breach of faith that is increasingly happening in our
society. This is attributable to the work of the dragon, the beast, and their agents whose
presentation, character, and influence, are outlined in Revelation 17.

For a long time, there have been various forms of apostasy, which crept into the church. We need
to identify the false teachers and their false teachings.

To begin with, false teachings drift from the key and true doctrines of the Bible lacing them with
a worldly touch. In other words, they sound like the real Christian doctrines, yet they are not. But
apostasy can also happen as a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, where one becomes
completely antichrist.

A study entitled, “Preachers Who Are Not Believers” conducted in 2010 revealed that there are
indeed preachers who “accepted heretical teachings about Christianity and now have completely
fallen away from the faith and are either pantheists or clandestine atheists.”1

We must guard against the false teachings engineered by the beast. And the best way to do that is
to know the truth. To identify a counterfeit, we must study the real thing. Jesus taught that we
should recognize a tree by its fruit (Matt. 12:33). Here are some ways to identify false teachers of
Christianity:

Their teachings about Christ: If the teachings do not uphold Christ and His work of redemption,
then they are wanting.

Their understanding of the gospel: Paul warns, “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other
than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned (Gal. 1:9).”

Their character traits that glorify the Lord: If they reject God’s plan, prophesy for wealth, or
promote themselves over Christ, then they miss the point (Matt 7: 15–20; Jude 11).

REACT
1
https://www.gotquestions.org/apostasy.html
Can you identify any apostate doctrines in your society?

Rose Ndanu, Matuu, Kenya

Callout: False teachings drift from the key and true doctrines of the Bible lacing them with a
worldly touch.
Thursday
March 21

The Beast in the Church

Opinion
Rev. 17:9–11

The case of Judas Iscariot as the betrayer of Christ is an indication of how the dragon could find
his way right into the church of Christ. Judas did not wholly surrender to Christ and in the end,
his actions revealed him to be totally antichrist.

While John uses images and figures in his visions, the Bible clearly explains itself regarding the
symbols, figures, and images so that no one is left in doubt. The heads, mountains, and kings
mentioned in Revelation 17:1–3 all portray the scale of worldly influence and power that the
dragon wields. The dragon, of course, is Satan (Rev. 12:9) and his influence continues to
infiltrate the church even today.

Today, there are many satanic agencies in the church, not unlike Judas Iscariot, who are trying to
rob God and His people both spiritually and materially. They have sold their allegiance to Christ
and now stand against Him and His principles.

The Bible, through Jude teaches how Christians can recognize apostasy in the church and stand
with Christ to the end. Jude advises Christians to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). This teaching implies that the war will be continuous. True
Christians have a constant fight against false teachings and their teachers.

Every Christian is, in fact involved in this fight—not just leaders in our churches. As believers,
we should sharpen our discernment skills so we are able, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to
identify and prevent any form of apostasy in our midst. “For there are certain men crept in
unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the
grace of our God into licentiousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”
(Jude 4).

False teachers sneak in, in a manner that is not easy to detect. People thought of Judas as one of
the disciples; little did they know that he would betray his Master. Secondly, they specialize in
imitating the truth, so that their subjects cannot tell the difference between truth and error.
Finally, they deny the only Master, Jesus Christ.

REACT
If we are able to identify false teachers in the church, how can we help them to come back to
Christ?

Patrick Nzuve, Nairobi, Kenya

Callout: True Christians have a constant fight against false teachings and their teachers.
Friday
March 22

The Final Judgment

Exploration
Rev. 16:15

CONCLUDE
A beginning must have an end. No matter how long it takes, God will finally judge the world.
The prostitute Babylon, the beast, and all related to them will come to an end. It will be a time
for saints to celebrate and to confirm that God is, indeed just and fair in His ruling. Every
Christian, from all corners of the world looks to that day—when God will finally declare the fate
of sin and sinners.

CONSIDER
 Visiting a court of law to witness how judgment is delivered. Note the options that the
accused person has before the final judgment is made. Compare how this is similar to or
different from heavenly judgment.
 Offering a Bible study on the fall of Babylon. Which evidences can you cite in your
lesson to support that spiritual Babylon will fall?
 Organizing a skit about the false teachers in the church. Use your play to spread
awareness about this challenge.
 Writing descriptions of the animals used in Revelation 13:1–8. For each animal, note the
characteristics that make it fit the imagery in John’s vision.
 Using technology to spread the Three Angels Messages. Utilize social media platforms
such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Think of how you can avert modern-day
apostasy. Use Revelation 13:6–8 as your guide.
 Making a list of all the bad things associated with harlotry. Note how the components of
your list give meaning to the spiritual Babylon described in Revelation 17:3.
 Conducting research on the ancient kingdoms of Greece, Babylon, and Rome. Dig out
more facts about them and note why they fit John’s description.

CONNECT
Daniel 7:23, 24; Luke 4:6, 7; 2 Peter 2:1, 2.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, chapter 42, “The Controversy Ended.”
SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 849.

Siprose Ngina, Makueni, Kenya


lesson thirteen
March 23–29

“I Make All Things New”

“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me,
‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’” (Revelation 21:5, NKJV).
Sabbath
March 23

Brand New Again

Introduction
Rev. 21:5

For the past five years our family has served as missionaries in the Philippines. We are now in
the process of, once again, moving back to our home country. It reminds me of how, when we
first moved here, my brother and I were a little bit nervous. I thought my parents said we were
moving to the land of the Philistines. You can imagine my relief when I learned we were actually
moving to the Philippines instead!

When we arrived it was better than we had ever imagined. Well, at least that was until we moved
into our new home and heard these big thuds on the roof. After a few days we learned that we
had an added blessing—that we lived under a mango tree. Sometimes when we live in a new
place it can be a bit nerve wracking, but in the end, we discovered that everything was far better
than we had imagined. We made new friends and have truly come to love the people here.

Of course when we moved, we brought some of our things. Some of those things didn’t last very
long. The high humidity meant that we had to buy dehumidifiers to make sure that our books and
other valuables did not get ruined. Now that we are leaving, we decided it was better to sell some
of our things rather than take them back. It will be nice to have a new bed since the old one is
getting rusty and worn out. I think everyone likes to have brand new things.

No matter how hard we try there is nothing in this world that is going to last. Jesus spoke about
this when He warned: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and
vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19, NIV). Even our physical
bodies will not last. Eventually all of us are going to die because we live in a world dominated by
sin. What I love about the lesson this week is that we are reminded of the promises of Scripture
that there will be no more sin. Death will cease to exist. Best of all, we will get to be with our
forever Friend, Jesus, through all eternity. This week is an opportunity to imagine how glorious
heaven is going to be—it is a whole new world. It is better than moving to another country. In
the words of the hymn: “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and
grace.”

Emma Campbell, Silang, Cavite, Philippines

Callout: After a few days we learned that we had an added blessing—that we lived under a
mango tree.
Sunday
March 24

The End Is Coming

Logos
Dan. 12:6, 7; Ps. 79:5; Hab. 1:2; Rev. 21:5

The Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6–9; John 14:1–3)


The coming of Jesus is described as the wedding of the Lamb, in which Christ is the Groom and
the saints are His bride. As the Groom, Christ has promised to His people that He will come
again to bring them to His Father’s house (John 14:1–3). They will then be together forever. The
readiness of the bride is indicated by her wearing the white wedding gown, which is the
characteristic of the saints (Rev. 19:8). We do not deserve to be the spiritual bride of Jesus—after
all we are sinners and He is not. Jesus has made this marriage possible only through His
righteous blood.

Armageddon Ends (Rev. 19:11–16)


Armageddon refers to the final battle in the Great Controversy conflict between Christ and Satan.
It involves Jesus and His people, and is juxtaposed by Satan and his followers. The battle
originally began in heaven (Rev. 12:7–9) and continues up to the present. Ultimately it will not
be finished until sin and Satan are destroyed and Jesus makes the earth new again after the
millennium. Revelation 19:11–16 describes Jesus as the groom. He is also the hero of the battle.
He is called: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. He is our Savior, our Groom, our Lord and
King. The victory is sure. Would you not like to be on His side?

The Millennium (Rev. 20:1–15; Jer. 4:23–26)


Jesus, the Groom, is now with the saints who are His bride. They will spend a period of one
thousand years together in heaven. This period is called the millennium because it represents
1,000 literal years. According to Revelation 20:1–15, these are the things that will take place
before, during, and after the millennium:
Before the millennium:
- Jesus comes again
- The righteous dead will be resurrected
- The living righteous will be taken to heaven together with the resurrected ones
- The living wicked will perish
- The dead wicked will not be resurrected
During the millennium:
- Satan is chained (he is alone with no people to tempt)
- The wicked remain dead
- The righteous will reign with Jesus in heaven
After the millennium:
- Satan is released
- The wicked are resurrected
- Jesus and the righteous come down to earth
- Satan and the wicked attack God’s city that comes down from heaven
- Satan and the wicked are destroyed
- The heaven and earth are renewed

A New Heaven and a New Earth (Genesis 2; Rev. 7:15–17; 21:2–8)


After the millennium, God creates a new heaven and a new earth. Eden as described in Genesis 2
is finally restored. Revelation 21 does not just describe the place, but also where the place is
located. All things that are caused and affected by sin disappear: “And God will wipe away every
tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more
pain, for the former things have passed away” (21:4, NIV). Sin will never return. There will be
no more people hiding behind a tree for fear because they have sinned. This is the place where
only the righteous will abide. Evildoers do not have place in it. God will be among His people,
not only for one thousand years but forever.

The New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9–22:5)


Revelation 21:9–22:5 describes what the New Jerusalem is like. It comes down from heaven.
There will be no more night because the glory of God is so bright. The New Jerusalem is the
place for those people whose names are written in the book of life. It is not a place for those who
are deceitful and cause shame. Can you imagine what this New Earth will be like? What an
amazing promise to know that through the gift of salvation we can live with the Lord forever!

REACT
1. How can we be ready for Jesus’ coming today?
2. How do we prepare ourselves to make sure that we are on Christ’s side?
3. Have you ever been afraid of Armageddon? How can we learn to trust Jesus to know that we
will be safe?

Richla Sabuin, Location

Callout: There will be no more people hiding behind a tree for fear because they have sinned.
Monday
March 25

Restored to Former Glory

Testimony
Rev. 21:4

In the closing chapters of The Great Controversy, Ellen G. White depicts the events of the last
days when the New Jerusalem will descend to earth. Just as in the Old Testament after God’s
people have endured suffering, they cry out to God saying, “How long, O LORD!” It is comforting
to know that a perfect ending awaits the faithful who have endured it all. This New Jerusalem is
prepared for the faithful who are described in intricate detail. God’s Word reassures us that the
pain and suffering of this world will not continue on into the New Jerusalem that is prepared for
those that remain faithful (Rev. 21:4).

“With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of the Lord. The Savior’s joy
is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and
humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed,
those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving
sacrifice.”53

When Christ returns to take His remnant people home with Him, they are restored by God to
their original state which God intended for them to be in. Sin corrupted not just their mind, but
also marred the original form each human being was created to have. God, however, has
promised to us that He will restore things to their former glory. These repeated assurances about
the world to come will be far better than the present one, and should remind us of the importance
that we should prioritize future blessings above temporary pleasures.

“The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God
they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet
their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of to
the other.’ Little children are borne by holy angels to their mother’s arms. Friends long separated
by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend to the City of God.”54
The human race, once lost to sin, is at last restored to its original glory.

REACT
1. In what ways has sin corrupted human beings from God’s original plan. Is it possible to
achieve restoration without God’s help?
2. In what ways is our present world different from the world that is to come? What do you look
forward to about this new heavenly kingdom?

Jude Joshua Marandi, Ranchi, India

53
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 647.
54
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 645.
Callout: The human race, once lost to sin, is at last restored to its original glory.
Tuesday
March 26

Folks, It Is Time To Push The “Reset Button”!

Evidence
Rev. 21:2–6

Much of the intrigue and excitement in the book of Revelation stems from the destruction of the
world at the end along with the hope of a new start. As suffering, oppression, pain and death
reach their demonic brink, God steps in and pushes the “reset button.”

“How long, O LORD, till the end of these things?” is the cry of the suffering saints who are
relentlessly assaulted by Satan and his evil forces. The answer to this question lies in Revelation
21:2–6 where God promises not just to end the suffering, but to also create a ‘new heaven and a
new earth’ where evil and its consequences do not exist.

The end-game in this world’s history is a tale of two cities, Babylon and New Jerusalem. Which
city do you belong to? Babylon the Great, the city described in Revelation 14:8, 17:5, and 18:21
is the world’s collective body of false religions, which God rejects. The purpose of this city is to
subtly lead people away from the worship of the true God. On the other hand, the New
Jerusalem, represents purity, life, joy and healing, which is indeed the antithesis of Babylon.
When you accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice, you become a citizen of the New Jerusalem.

When does the New Jerusalem descend to Earth? When evil, chaos and moral debasement
pushes the world to its tipping point, God will intervene by ushering in the New Jerusalem. This
New Jerusalem embodies the end of suffering (Rev. 21:4).

Today we live in the cataclysmic rule of Babylon the Great. Whether it may be cunningly-crafted
New Age ideologies, alternate sexualities, exaggerated faith in technology, fantasy art,
desensitization to extreme violence or ethics devoid of morality, confusion is reflected in all that
surrounds us. Frankly, our sufferings are far from over. As the end draws near, so does the time
for tribulation. Babylon will seemingly achieve unprecedented greatness and may even seem
invincible. At this time our hope and faith must endure that Jesus is coming again. Eventually,
Babylon will fall and the New Jerusalem will descend. Jesus, our Lord, will then make all things
new! God Himself will wipe every tear and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or
pain. The end-game leads to a new start!

REACT
1. To which city do you belong? Babylon the Great or the New Jerusalem?
2. Comparing and contrasting the two cities, what do you detest in Babylon and what do you
look forward to in the New Jerusalem?

Komal Nunfeli Swansi, AIIAS, Silang, Philippines

Callout: The New Jerusalem, represents purity, life, joy and healing
Wednesday
March 27

“He will wipe away every tear”

How-to
Ps. 34:19; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rev. 21:4

Revelation 21:4 shares a profound promise that will bring hope to every sufferer of pain,
oppression, or misery. God promises to make all things new. We will be renewed in the likeness
of Christ, prefect and flawless. God will then take us to heaven and give us everlasting life.

Suffering and hardships are inevitable episodes in our earthly life. As Christians we are not free
from worldly struggles, be it disease, death, or despair. In our everyday life, however, we may
find solace in the Lord, His promises for us and His sure return. Exercising this hope and
claiming His promises will certainly bring us comfort. This is how we can experience first-hand,
God’s promise of no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying and no pain.

No Tears: Emotional tears are often triggered by strong feelings such as joy and sadness. Tears
referred to in Revelation 12:4 are tears caused by intense sadness due to despair, pain or death.
“Wiping away every tear” is the assurance that Jesus, our Friend, will sit next to us and shall
remove the very cause of our sadness.

No Death: In 1 Corinthians 15:55 we read, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is
your sting?” (NIV). Jesus conquered death at the cross and in the earth made new, death shall be
no more. Therefore, we need not sorrow for someone’s death as it is just a sleep!

No Sorrow: Hurtful experiences cause sorrow, like the passing of a loved one, or a painful break-
up. The Holy Spirit came to comfort us—that’s why He is called the Comforter. There shall be
no mourning when we are comforted by none other than God Himself!

No Crying: A cry is a primal sound of anguish, pain or despair which calls attention to one’s
situation. When a baby cries, you soothe the child by immediate attention, an assuring touch and
removing the cause of despair. God does just that by eliminating sin, pain and death!

No Pain: Pain is a highly unpleasant sensation caused by physical or psychological trauma.


When God makes all things new the antecedents of pain such as illness, injury, or trauma will be
a thing of the past. Hence, there is no pain!

In the final chapter of earth’s history God will recreate this earth and the original perfection of
Eden will be restored.

REACT
1. How can we cope with tears, death, mourning and pain in our present life? How can friends,
relatives, pastors and others in the community provide a supportive role?
2. Is it really possible for God to wipe our tears when someone very close to us has died? How
do you think God does this?
3. What is one thing you are really looking forward to in the earth made new?

Karan Kenneth Swansi, AIIAS, Silang, Philippines


Rhea Joanna Marandi, Avondale College, Australia

Callout: We will be renewed in the likeness of Christ, prefect and flawless.


Thursday
March 28

Beauty and Beasts

Opinion
Eph. 6:12

The first section of Revelation chapter twelve shows a radiant woman (Rev. 12:1, 2), the dragon
(v. 3), and the woman’s child (v.2) as the main characters. The setting is heaven. The child is
caught up to heaven and the woman flees into the wilderness (Rev. 12:5, 6).

The wonder or sign of the pregnant woman clothed with the sun, crowned with stars, and
standing on the moon symbolizes God’s pure church, which is faithful to her Love, Jesus (Isa.
54:5, 6; Jer. 3:20; 6:2; Ezek. 16:8–14; Hosea 1–3; Gal. 4:26). The sun as a garment symbolizes
Christ’s righteousness that clothes the church (Mal. 4:2). The imagery of clothes appears also in
Isaiah 61:10: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my Soul shall be joyful I my God for he hath
clothed me with garments of salvation, he hath covered me with robe of righteousness, as a
bridegroom decketh himself with ornament, and as a bride adorneth herself with Jewels.” Since
the moon reflects the light of the sun, the moon symbolizes “the Mosaic and Sanctuary” system
that pointed forward to Jesus Christ.1 The twelve stars signify the twelve tribes of Israel bringing
a continuity in symbols between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The woman symbolizes every believer who lives a life of constant conflict. The picture of the
woman in pain during labor is a description of the suffering of God’s people (John 16:33). The
good news is that Jesus Christ gives each believer the full armor of God to protect them against
evil (Eph. 6:10, 11, 13). The struggle of God’s people is both from within and from without, but
ultimately it is Christ’s righteousness that keeps our hearts and minds pure despite such attacks
(2 Cor. 10:3–5).

The second wonder of the red dragon symbolizes the ancient serpent, also known as the Devil or
Satan. The color red often symbolizes iniquity, but can also represent the shed blood of Satan’s
innocent victims (Rev. 16:6; 17:6; 18:24). Ultimately Satan is not able to at last overcome God’s
people who will be victorious (Eph. 6:12).

Revelation 12 points to the past, present, and future conflict that God’s people will face. It
describes who the main antagonist is against God’s people—the Devil. Thus Revelation 12 is
vital for understanding the ultimate outcome of the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan.

REACT
1. How can we be pure like the woman described in Revelation 12?
2. Who overcomes in Revelation 12:1–6? How is this accomplished?
3. How do your struggles in your own personal life fit into this cosmic conflict? How do you see
events unfolding that indicate to you that spiritual forces are at work around you?

1
Uriah Smith, The Prophesies of Daniel and Revelation [Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association, 1946], p.
549.
Ashley Natasha Odhiambo, Philippines

Callout: The woman symbolizes every believer who lives a life of constant conflict.
Friday
March 29

The Promise

Exploration
Rev. 21:5

CONCLUDE
In Revelation 21:5 God promises to make all things new. Our troubles, sorrows, and burdens will
be finally washed away. We will get to live in a place where there is nothing to sadden our hearts
(v. 4). The Lord promised to prepare a place for us, and He stands with open arms ready to
welcome us. He desires to wash away your sins and make you pure. All that He asks is that you
accept Him into your heart.

CONSIDER
 Listening to the song “No More Night” by David Phelps. Think about how all the things
of this world will pass away and how God promises to make everything new.
 Listing the times in history when God’s people were oppressed by other powers and how
His people persevered in the midst of adversity.
 Describing how God makes things new in our lives every day. Think about how He will
change everything for the better when He returns.
 Writing a song or a poem about the assurance given to God’s people that evil, oppression,
and suffering will eventually come to an end (cf. Genesis 2; Rev. 7:15–17; 21:2–8).
 Making a skit about how the world is now and contrast it with what it will be like when
Jesus comes again.
 Praying for missionaries around the world who are sharing God’s Word and sharing with
others about who Jesus Christ is so that they can be ready to meet Jesus, too. How can
you share God’s love with someone that you know?

CONNECT
Roberto Badenas, Symposium on Revelation, Book 2 (Biblical Research Institute, 1992), “New
Jerusalem—The Holy City,” pp. 243–271.
Daegeuk Nam, Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (Review & Herald, 2000), “The
New Earth and the Eternal Kingdom,” pp. 947–968.
Francis Nichol, ed. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. (Review & Herald, 1976–
1980), 7:888–893.
Ranko Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Andrews
University Press, 2002), pp. 573–600.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 674–678.

Miguel Alejandro Patino Ramirez, Montemorelos, Mexico