Among the Lampstands

Among the Lampstands

Scripture: Revelation 2:7, Revelation 1:9-18, Acts 7:54-60
Date: 01/12/2019  Lesson: 2
"The same Jesus who came to John with the words of hope and encouragement in the midst of his hardship on Patmos still is present with His people to sustain and support them in their difficult situations."

The Ultimate Deliverance - Paper or Digital Download

The Ultimate Deliverance - Paper or Digital Download

God's Wisdom for Your Every Need (Deluxe Edition) by Jack Countryman

God's Wisdom for Your Every Need (Deluxe Edition) by Jack Countryman
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Good morning, friends, and welcome once again to Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. Very warm welcome to our online members and our friends who are joining us across the country and around the world, part of our extended Sabbath school class, and as always very warm welcome to our members and our visitors here in person at church this morning. Now over the past, well, last week, it's just one week so far, we started a brand new lesson quarterly dealing with one of my favorite books in the new testament. I know the church members probably know what that is, the book of Revelation. So today, we find ourselves on lesson number 2 of our study in the book of Revelation.

It's actually entitled amongst the lampstands. And we're going to be looking at the last part of Revelation 1 as well as part of Revelation 2. We want to let our friends know who are joining us if you don't have a copy of the Sabbath school lesson entitled the book of Revelation, you can download today's lesson by simply going to lesson.aftv.org, and you can download lesson 2 entitled amongst the lampstands, and that's going to be our study for today. We also have a free offer that we'd like to make available to anyone in North America, we'll be happy to send you a copy of one of the Amazing Facts study guide lessons. It's entitled ultimate deliverance.

And all you'll have to do is call 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 105, and we'll be happy to send you for free the study guide. Or if you like, you can actually download this study guide for free, simply text the code sh090 to the number 40544. You'll then receive a link and you'll be able to download and read the ultimate deliverance, and of course, that's not just for North America but anywhere around the world, you'll be able to receive the free download of the Amazing Facts study guide ultimate deliverance. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we always like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite The Song leaders to please come forward.

Thank you so much for singing along with us. And at this time, Pastor Ross is going to have our opening prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, once again, we are so grateful to be able to gather together in your house Your Word and study this very important book, a special book related for our time, the book of Revelation. And, Lord, we ask once again that the Holy Spirit would come and got our hearts, our minds as we look at this very important part of this last book, in Jesus Name, amen. Well, as mentioned just a little while ago in our introduction, we're starting a lesson quarterly dealing with the book of Revelation.

And those of you who were here last week, we looked at the first few verses of Revelation 1 last week, probably from verse 1 through to about verse 8, which gives you a little bit of the background to the book of Revelation. Today, we're going to continue our study in Revelation 1 starting in verse 9 going all the way through the end of the chapter. Our lesson is lesson number 2, and it's entitled amongst the lampstands. Now if you have your lesson quarterly, we have a memory verse and I'm going to read it from our lesson quarterly. Revelation 2:7, it is actually something that is repeated to all of the seven churches.

It's the words of Jesus, "he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Important council, he who has an ear, let him hear. Now on Sabbath afternoon, this is lesson number 2 in your lesson quarterly. Sabbath afternoon, we have a summary of what this week's lesson really covered. It said this week, in addition to introducing Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, we'll spend a few moments on that, we also will begin by looking at the first of his seven special messages to the church addressed collectively to the seven churches in asia but which also have meaning for us today. Then next week, we will look at the messages that Jesus has to the other six churches.

So our mission this morning in our study is to finish up Revelation 1, that's from verse 9 through to the end of the chapter, and then take a look at the first church, the church of ephesus, that you find in Revelation 2 from verse 1 through to verse 7. And as I looked at the lesson, there were number of important points that were brought to view, and Revelation being one of my favorite books, I thought, well, what should we do, should we just take on these different themes that we have in the quarterly for the week or should we just try and do an overview of the passage of Scripture that we need to study for the week. And I thought well, let's take a look this morning at starting in verse 9, and let's see if we can get through all of Revelation 1 and also save a little time to look at the first church, the church of ephesus in Revelation 2. So that is our mission today. We're going to look from verse 9, Revelation 1:9 all the way through the chapter.

So if you have your Bibles, you can turn to Revelation 1. And we're going to start reading here in verse 9. Revelation 1:9. It says, "i, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation..." Well, there's no doubt as to who wrote the book of Revelation, it's the apostle John. John was the youngest of the disciples.

At the time that John wrote Revelation, he was an old man, the book of Revelation is estimated to be written somewhere around 90 ad, so that's some 40 plus years after Christ. The other apostles, they're already been put to death that already died, but John, an old man on the island of patmos, we'll find that why he's there in just a few moments. It's there that he writes the book of Revelation. Now John says, "I'm your brother in companion and tribulation." Did John know something about tribulation? Absolutely, and you'll find that more, he was on the island of patmos because of his faith in God. The Christian is not removed from tribulation rather the Bible tells us that we are sustained through tribulation.

So to be a Christian doesn't mean you won't have trials and difficulties, rather than means that through trials and difficulties, God is able to sustain you and carry you. Matter of fact, in acts 14:22, we read, "we must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God." So the Christian is not removed from trials rather we are sustained through trials. John goes on to say, "I'm your brother and companion in tribulation and the Kingdom," that is the Kingdom of God, "and patience of Jesus Christ." Now you might be wondering what is this patience of Jesus. What was it that John was longing for, that John was looking forward to, and that was the promise that Jesus made, "I will go prepare a place for you and I will come again." So John says, I am patiently waiting for that promise to be fulfilled, not only me, but all of those who believe. We are looking forward to the coming of Jesus.

Now the word patience also carries with it a certain degree of endurance. To have patience not only means a passive waiting but in the original, it has the idea of an active endurance or standing firm in the midst of trial. And so John is one who endured, he had patience, he held on. It's interesting to note that the early church described as having patience or endurance. So the church of the last days the Bible tells us also needs to have patience and endurance.

It was Jesus that said, "he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved." Revelation 14:12, talking about God's people at the end of time. "Here is the patience of the saints, here are those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus." So God's people in the last days will also have this endurance or this patience that we see demonstrated in the first century church. Verse 9 continues and says, "was on the island that is called patmos." Now patmos is a small island about 10 miles by 6 miles. It's in the aegean sea currently about 30 miles west of turkey as we know it today. During the time of John, the island was used by the Romans as a prison, and according to tradition, John was sent to patmos by the roman emperor Titus flavius, domitian, during a time of intense persecution that came against the Christians.

He says that he was on the island for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus. Now Revelation is... The book of Revelation is an eyewitness account of the things that God revealed to John. In Revelation 1, the earlier part John says that he wrote down what he heard, what he saw, and what God revealed to him through the testimony of Jesus or the Spirit of prophecy. Now we know that the testimony of Jesus according to Revelation 19:10 is the Spirit of prophecy, John being a prophet had the Spirit of prophecy, but it's also interesting to note that God's people at the end of time who also faced trials and persecutions, those that have endurance also have the testimony of Jesus or the Spirit of prophecy according to Revelation 12:17.

So there's an interesting connection between that first century Christians and then, of course, the last Christians, just prior to the coming of Christ, we'll look more at that when we get to the church of ephesus in chapter 2. Now verse 10 is an important verse. It says, John writes, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Now I've heard people say, well, John was having a vision on the first day of the week. He was having a vision on Sunday, and they say the Lord's day is Sunday. Now why do people say that? Well, they say that because Jesus rose on the first day of the week, didn't he? Yes, he did.

But does that somehow make Sunday sacred with reference to the other days of the week? What was more important, the resurrection of Jesus or the death of Jesus on Friday, or they both equally important? Yes, they're both equally important. So if we're going to celebrate the first day and say, well, this is the resurrection, what about Friday, the sixth day, shouldn't that also be celebrated? No, the Bible gives us no command anywhere to celebrate the death of Jesus by setting aside Friday or to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by setting aside Sunday. What is it that the Bible gives us which is a reminder and a celebration of the death and the resurrection of Jesus? Baptism, Paul's very clear that baptism is a symbol of Christ's death and resurrection, and we participate by faith in that experience through baptism. So what does the Bible say is the Lord's day? Well, we just need to look at three verses, it makes it very clear. Matthew 12:8, Jesus says, "The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

" Which day of the week is Jesus Lord off? Sabbath. That's what he said. Exodus 20:10 says, "but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord." So if you just turn that around, it's the Lord's day, the Sabbath, is the Lord's. And then Isaiah 58:13 makes it very clear, "if you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasures on my holy day." So which day of the week does God claim as his? The seventh day Sabbath, that is the Lord's today. It's important to note that here, John writing the book of Revelation, some 50 years after Jesus had spoken and taught and been amongst the disciples, John still recognizes a day as being special, set apart, he calls it the Lord's day, he's referring to the seventh day Sabbath.

And then the rest of verse 10 says, "and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet." So in order for John to see the one that he's talking to him, what does John need to do? Where does he hear the voice? It says, I heard a voice as of a trumpet where? Behind me. In order for John to see the one that was talking to him, he had to take his eyes away from these earthly surroundings and turn to look to a heavenly environment, and we'll see that in just a minute. Sometimes, in order for us to hear God to see God, we have to look away from our earthly surroundings, and by faith, look to heavenly things, look by faith to Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary that is ministering on our behalf. That says he has a voice like to a trumpet. A trumpet in the Bible is often used as a symbol for God's guidance of his people.

Numbers 10:2, 5, 6, the sound of a trumpet is often associated with the proclamation of the Gospel. Psalm 89:15. It is also connected with the bold and faithful preaching of ministers. Isaiah 58:1, it is also connected to warnings and judgments. And of course, later on in our study of Revelation, we're going to be talking about the seven trumpets.

They have to do with warnings and judgments. Now verse 11 says, this is not Jesus speaking, "I am alpha and omega, the first and the last." Now that is a well-known title of Jesus. But do we know what it means? What is alpha? Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In essence, it's the a you might say. And what is omega? Omega will be the last letter of the Greek alphabet, we might say z.

Now that's an interesting name. Jesus says, I am the a and the z. Why does Jesus say I'm the alpha and the omega? What do we do with the letters of the alphabet, while we arrange them differently to make words, right? And what are our words? Our words are our thoughts revealed. Isn't it interesting that Jesus says I am the a and z and then in the Gospel of John, speaking of Jesus, he's called the word, and the word was made flesh and dwelt among us? What is Jesus? Jesus is the thoughts of God revealed. Jesus said to his disciples, "if you have seen me, you've" what, "seen The Father.

" So Jesus is called the a and the z, he is God's thoughts revealed through the word. And then he goes on to say, what do you see writing a book or a letter, and send it to the seven churches which are in asia, to ephesus, smyrna, pergamum, thyatira, sardis, philadelphia, and laodicea. So John would write down the things he heard, the things he saw, that which was revealed to him through the Spirit of prophecy. He wrote it in a book or a letter, and then it was sent via the mail to the seven churches in asia. Now John didn't write seven different books and send one to each of the churches, rather he wrote one book or letter probably sent it first to the church of ephesus because that's the first church that's referred to in Revelation 2.

This letter was then received in the church. Now tradition has it that it's pretty solid that John prior to him been taken to patmos was the leader of the church of ephesus. So he has taken away from the church, he was taken to patmos, he writes a letter, he sends the letter to his church in ephesus. And you can imagine the Sabbath morning when the church assembles, and everyone is sitting there in the church, and the elder of the church gets up, and he says, "brethren, we've got something that has just arrived in the mail, we have got a letter of our beloved John," and you can imagine how all the members sat spellbound as this letter was read in its entirety, starting Revelation 1:1 reading all the way through the end of the book. Everybody listened, and I'm sure the book was read more than once 'cause they wanted to get every word that they could.

After the letter was read to the church, a scribe carefully copied everything that John had written so they would have a copy. And then they probably sent the original to the next church, the church of smyrna. And when the letter arrived in the church of smyrna, the same thing happened, somebody in the church read it to the congregation, it was carefully copied, and then it was sent to the next church, and so it went all around the seven churches. And I'm sure after it went around the seven churches, it was again mailed out to other churches, and again, it was read and copied. And so it was multiplied during the Christian era, that first century.

But just imagine being able to receive a letter from John, an eye witness account of what he had seen, what he had heard, and being able to share that with the church. Now John in verse 12 says, "then I turned to see the voice which spake onto me, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands." Now these lampstands according to Revelation 1:20 represents the churches, the seven churches, the seven churches represent seven phases of Christian history, and we'll get to that later on. In the sanctuary, there was a seven branched candlestick. There are two compartments in the sanctuary. The first compartment is known as the holy place, and then there is veil, and then you have the most holy place, outside of the sanctuary was the courtyard.

Now the Bible is very clear in the book of Hebrews, that there is a heavenly sanctuary, a sanctuary built by God and that Jesus, our high priest ministers for us in the heavenly sanctuary. It's interesting to note that there is no courtyard in the heavenly sanctuary. Do you know why? Where was the lamb to be sacrificed? In the courtyard, right? It's placed on the altar of burnt sacrifice which was in the courtyard. Where was the blood of the lamb to be taken? Into the sanctuary and throughout the year into the first compartment and then on the day of atonement, the blood of the sacrifice was taken into the most holy place. So the courtyard then would represent Christ work for us here on this earth.

Jesus came, lived on the earth, he died, the lamb of God, a sacrifice for our sins. And then when Jesus ascended to heaven, he began his high priestly ministry for us in heaven. So John in vision looks up into heaven, and he sees Jesus standing amongst the seven-branched candlestick. Where would you find the seven-branched candlestick in the sanctuary? Well, if you went through the door leading into the first compartment of the sanctuary and you looked over to the right, what article of furniture would you see? You'd see the table of showbread directly opposite from the table of showbread would be the seven-branched candlestick. And what would be directly in front of you? The altar of incense.

And then what was behind the altar of incense? There was a veil and then you go into the most holy place. And what was in the most holy place? The ark of the covenant. So where is Jesus seen? He's seen standing amongst the seven-branched candlesticks. Now this is very interesting. In Revelation 4, and we'll get to this later on in our study.

You have a picture of God The Father seated upon his throne. God The Father is seated upon his throne, there are four living creatures surrounding his throne. And then Revelation 4 says there are seven burning lamps of fire before the throne or in front of the throne. And then in chapter 5 of Revelation, Jesus appears as a lamb as it had been slain, and he appears before the throne by the seven burning lamps of fire. Now if the altar of incense separates the veil, the holy and the most holy place, and you have the table of showbread, and across from the table of showbread is the seven-branched candlestick, when it says that God's throne, in front of the throne, seven burning lamps of fire, what article of furniture in the first compartment of the sanctuary would then symbolize God's throne? The table of showbread.

Do you see that? So the table of showbread in the first compartment of the sanctuary represents God's throne in front of the throne of the seven burning lamps of fire and Jesus is seen in front of the throne standing amongst the seven golden lampstands, symbolizing Jesus's connection with his church. Something else important to note, now that we laid that as a foundation, as we study through the book of Revelation, it's exciting to see how Jesus moves from amongst the seven-branched candlestick to the altar of incense. And then in Revelation 11, when the seventh trumpet sounds, guess where Jesus is? By the ark of the covenant in the most holy place. So throughout the book of Revelation, Jesus actually moves from place to place. So look for that in your study throughout this quarter.

Where is Jesus? What part of the sanctuary is brought to view? And you'll see Jesus moving through the sanctuary. All right, we need to keep going here. Verse 13, "and in the midst of the seven lamps, one like unto The Son of man," clearly it's a reference to Jesus, "clothed with a garment down to his feet, girded about the chest with a golden band." Notice that he is gird about the chest with a golden band. The belt was not around the waist, where most people would wear a belt, but this is a belt or a band around the chest. It's relating to the dress of a priest, in particular, the high priest here.

So Jesus is described as a high priest ministering for us in the first compartment of the heavenly sanctuary when John sees Jesus envision in Revelation 1. Now we know from a study of the book of Revelation, Jesus is administering for us in the first compartment, but he's actually ministering for us today in the most holy place or the second compartment, and we learn more about that when we get to Revelation 11. We have a little bit of a description of what Jesus looks like in symbolic language here in Revelation 1:14. It says, "his head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow." Now remember, Revelation is a symbolic book and the different images that are used are illustrating important truths for us. What does white represent in the Bible? White represents wisdom and purity.

I think we know the verse in Isaiah 1:18, God says, "come now, let us reason together. Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be," what, "as white as snow." And then the last part of verse 14 says, "his eyes were like a flame of fire." So his hair, his countenance is white, white like snow, his eyes like flames of fire. What does that mean? His eyes as a flame of fire, it represents intensity of gaze and the searching of the heart. 2 Chronicles 16:9, this is a wonderful promise. It says, "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him.

" Those eyes of fire are looking throughout the earth to see who is faithful to Jesus. He wants to show himself strong on their behalf. What a wonderful promise. Verse 15 continues in this description and says, "his feet were as fine brass, refined in a furnace," the symbol here of fine brass represents purity through trial, purity through trial. It was through Christ's experience on the earth through his faithfulness in trial that he obtained salvation for us.

Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, "not my will be done but thy will be done." Full surrender to the will of his father, God's people at the end of time will also have their faith tested. They will also be tried, so to speak, by fire. We read in Zechariah 13:9, "I will bring one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined," talking about God's people in the last days, "and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'this is my people.

' And each one will say, 'the Lord is my God.'" So there is a time of testing and trial even for God's people in the last days. The last part of verse 15 says, "and his voice is as the sound of many waters or of rushing water," like standing beside niagara falls. I've been there several times and I hear the roar of the water just coming over the falls. Back in Jewish literature, the one who had the voice that sounds like many waters was none other than the creator. So when it talks about Jesus having the voice that sounds like many waters, it's a reference to Jesus being the creator.

And of course, we see that in the Gospel of John where all things that were made were made by him. Verse 16, still talking about Jesus, it says, "he had in his right hand seven stars." Which hand did Jesus have the seven stars? In his right hand. Any significance of the fact that it's his right hand? Absolutely. In the Bible, the right arm or the right hand is a symbol of power and strength. You can read in Isaiah 41:10, that there is power and strength, fear not.

.. This is Isaiah 41:10, "fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." So here you have Jesus holding the seven stars which are the angels to the seven churches, we'll look at that in a minute, but there in his right hand, meaning that Jesus is the one that sustains his church, he will strengthen his church. And then verse 16 continues and says, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. Remember Revelation is a symbolic book, but here coming forth from his mouth is described a two-edged sword.

What does that two-edged sword represent? Represents the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, "for the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any," what, "two-edged sword." Now you might be wondering why two edges. What are the two edges relating to the Word of God? The old and new testament? Yes. But there's more, we'll get to it in just a minute. The last part of the verse says, "his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

" So Jesus's countenance shines forth at the sun. There's an interesting old testament verse in Malachi 4:2 that says, "the sun," s-u-n "of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings." That is a messianic prophecy, it's talking about Jesus. So Jesus is like unto the sun shining forth in its strength. Now in Revelation 12, we have a description of the church symbolized as a woman clothed with the sun, standing upon the moon, she has a crown of 12 stars above her head. So the church is to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, clothed with the sun, standing upon the moon.

Incidentally, the moon... What does the moon represent? Well, the moon does not have light of itself, it's merely reflects the light of the sun. What is the church to be founded on and to be standing on? Where do we get the clearest reflection of Jesus? It's through His Word. That's the church must be standing upon the Word of God. Clothed in Christ's righteousness, the 12 stars would be a symbol of the 12 apostles, at least in the new testament, the 12 tribes of the old testament.

And verse 17, Revelation 1:17, it says, "and when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead." Now this is something interesting that you'll find both in the new testament and the old testament that often a profit when he sees in vision, the glory of God, his first response is to fall to the ground as though he were dead. Actually, we read about in Daniel 8:17 where Daniel saw the glory of God, he fell to the ground and he says, "there was no breath left in me." We have the same experience with the prophet Ezekiel. So when a prophet sees God in his glory, there is no strength left in him, he falls to the ground, but then it goes on, "but he laid his right hand on me and said to me, 'do not be afraid, I am the first and the last." So John in vision sees the glory of Christ, he falls to the ground, but Jesus reaches over and touches the prophet. We find that also true with reference to Daniel, Ezekiel, and other prophets of the old testament, that often when they see the glory of God, and they realize their sinfulness and their unworthiness, there's no strength left in them, and then God will touch them and revive them and give them strength. Notice, it's Christ's right hand that is laid upon the prophet and John is revived.

Verse 18, Jesus says, "I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I'm alive for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of hades and of death." Jesus is the one who lives was dead and is alive. Of course, he's talking about Christ, his incarnation, he came to the earth, he died and sacrificed for our sins. He rose from the dead, and now he intercedes, he ever lives for us.

Jesus also says, "I have the keys of hades and death." And what does the word hades mean? Hades in the Greek simply means the grave. Jesus has the key of the grave, he is the key of death, he can unlock the grave, he can set the captives of death free. In John 5:25, we read, Jesus says, "most assuredly, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of The Son of God, and those who hear will live." So Jesus has power to call forth the sleeping dead, and they will be raised. Of course, death in the Bible is like unto sleep. Verse 19, Revelation 1:19, "write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things that will take place after this.

" So John is actually writing Revelation as he is seeing these visions taking place. Write the things that you have seen that's everything up to this point in Revelation 1:19, the things that are happening now he's to write that down, as well as the things that is yet to come. So the book of Revelation deals with historical issues, it deals with present time issues, and it also deals with future issues, things of the church will face before Jesus comes. Of course Revelation even extends past the second coming all the way that 1000-year period that we read about in Revelation 20 and the new heavens and the new earth of Revelation 21. So those are the things that are yet to come.

And then in verse 20, our last verse here in chapter 1 before we talk about the first church, it says, "the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands." Now a very important rule when studying the book of Revelation, as a tool, so the book of Daniel or any prophetic book in the Bible, we need to let the Bible interpret itself. It is not for us to guess what these symbols might mean. All of the symbols are revealed to us elsewhere in Scripture, sometimes in the same book, sometimes in a different book. For example, Revelation 13 talks about beasts, the one comes from the sea, the other comes from the earth. What do beasts represent in Bible prophecy? Well, to get the answer, we got to go all the way back to the book of Daniel and tells us that beast represent kingdoms or nations.

One of the beast in Revelation 13, he said, to come up from the sea. What does the sea represent in Bible prophecy? Revelation 17 gives us the answer, multitudes, and nations, and kingdoms, and towns. What do stars represent in Bible prophecy? They represent angels, right? In Revelations 1:20, it tells us that. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. So in Revelation 12, where we read about the dragon sweeps a third of the stars of heaven with his tail and cast them to the earth, what are those one-third of the stars represent? A third of the angels, join satan's rebellion against God.

So we need to let the Bible interpret itself. That's why the Bible tells us no prophecy or Scripture is for private interpretation, it is not for us to look at something and say, "well, I think it might mean this, or I think it might mean that." No, the Bible tells us what it means. And so here in verse 20, the Bible tells us what these various symbols mean. First, it talks about seven. Now Numbers are significant in the Bible.

There are several that are particularly significant, not all Numbers are significant, but especially from one through seven, they're very significant. The number 10 is significant, the number 12 is significant, the number 40 in the Bible is significant, so as a little bit of a background, I just want to review through the meaning of Numbers, especially in Revelations, prophetic books, what they might mean. And we'll start at the very beginning, the number one. What is the number one represent in Bible prophecy? Well, it's interesting to note that the number one in the original Hebrew, there is a singular form for the word one. There is also a plural form for the word one.

And that famous verse, "hear, o Israel, the Lord thy God is one," the original Hebrew word there for one is in the plural form. So you have one singular form, which means at least in our thinking, one, but there is also a plural form of one where the Bible says, "the Lord thy God is one," one represents unity of purpose, unity of purpose. Jesus said, "for this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and that two shall become one." Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one, even as he is one with The Father, so one symbolically represents unity of purpose, unity of purpose. Then number two in Bible prophecy represents the Word of God, represents the Word of God. Now the old testament was divided up into two parts.

The first five books of the old testament written by Moses was often referred to as the law and the last or the rest of the old testament was referred to as the prophets. So the two witnesses with reference to the Scriptures was the law and the prophets. The new testament is really an extension of the prophets. So the two parts of the word is the law and the prophets, the law and the prophets. And we find that over and over again in the Bible.

Sometimes it's referred to as the two witnesses or the testimonies, the law and the prophets, to the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this, there is no light in them. So the number two has reference to the Word of God. What does the number three in Bible prophecy represent? It represents the Godhead, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is also interesting to note that in Revelation 16, you have a counterfeit Godhead introduced, the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. And we'll be looking at what that is a little later.

So three has reference to the Godhead, The Father, son, and the Holy Spirit. What do you suppose the number four might represent in Bible prophecy? Can you think of four in the book of Revelation? What about Revelation 7 where it talks about four angels holding back the four corners of the earth? What are the four corners of the earth? It's simply the four points of the compass, north, south, east, and west. So four in the Bible has a reference to the earth, four has a reference to the earth. What about the number five, any significance with the number five? Well, I spoke a little earlier when talking about the number two that the old testament was divided into two parts, the first part, the pentateuch written by Moses, the five books had reference to the law and then the rest was the prophets. So the number five in Bible prophecy is often associated with doctrine or teaching.

And number five, associated with doctrine or teaching. And then a very interesting number, the number six. What does the number six represent in Bible prophecy? What day of the week was man created on? The sixth day of the week, right? That's also interesting to note that the number of the beast power of Revelation 13 is the number six how many times? Three times. Again, a counterfeit trinity, man's attempt to usurp the position of God, 666. So six is man's number.

And then seven would be God's number. The number seven represents completion or perfection. God created the earth in six days, he rested on the seventh day. God told the Israelites that they would work their fields for six years and then rest the land on the seventh year. The number 10 in the Bible would represent what? What is the most famous biblical article that comes in 10? Ten Commandments without a doubt.

The number ten represents the Ten Commandments. Now the Ten Commandments written on how many tables of stone? How many of the Ten Commandments was universal for the whole world with reference to worshiping God as the creator? The first four commandments, which is for everyone because all are created by God, it's universal. The first four of the Ten Commandments have to deal with worship to God, and how many of the Ten Commandments have to do without relationship to our fellowman? The last six. Isn't that interesting? Ten Commandments come on two tables of stone, the first four have to do with our relationship to God, the last six has to do with our relationship with our fellowman. Kind of interesting Numbers there.

What about the number 12? What does 12 represent in Bible prophecy? It represents God's people, 12 tribes of the old testament, you got the 12 apostles of the new testament. And then the next number, there are others, but these are the main ones is the number 40. And what does 40 represent in Bible prophecy? How long did the children of Israel wander in the wilderness on their way to the promised land? Forty years. How long was Jesus in the wilderness fasting? Forty days. So the number 40, how long did it rain during the time of Noah and the flood? Forty days.

So 40 represents a time of testing or trial or purifying. Number 40 has to do with testing, trial, or purifying. And then the rest of verse 12 says, "the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches." I like the idea that there is an angel assigned to each of God's churches. I like the idea that there is a Granite Bay church angel. An angel assigned to the Granite Bay church.

And that could very well be. But the word angel in the original Greek anglos means messenger. And in Revelation, angels are not only referring to angelic beings but it can also represent human beings who are carrying a message from God. For example, Revelation 14 talks about the three angels messages. Those messengers are carried to the world by God's people in the last days.

And then it talks about the seven lampstands, and of course, the lampstands represent the church. Now what is it that the church is to do in the world? Jesus said, speaking to his disciples, "I am the light of the world." Jesus is the light of the world. But later on, Jesus said to his disciples, "you are the light of the world." So Jesus is the light, and he says, his church, the disciples, they're also the light. How is it that the disciples are the light? They are only the light of the world as they hold up Jesus to the world. Does that make sense? Jesus is the light, the church is to hold Jesus up to the world, the lampstand in Revelation is said to be the church.

What is the church to do for the world? Hold Jesus up to the world. He is the light. But in order to have a flame on the lampstand, what needs to be in the lamp? There needs to be oil. What does the oil represent? The Holy Spirit. What does the church need in order to hold Jesus up to the world? Needs the Holy Spirit.

The church can't do the work of revealing Jesus if the church is void of the Holy Spirit. All right, well, that brings us then to our summary of our introduction of Revelation 1. And now we have Christ message to the churches, the seven churches, and I'm going to quickly go through the first church, which is the church of ephesus. Now the church of ephesus represents a time period from about 31 ad to 100 ad. The word ephesus means desirable.

During the roman period, ephesus was the second largest city in the empire, it had a population of more than 250,000 people. According to tradition, it was Paul that was the first Christian missionary to ephesus, somewhere around 52 ad. And later, after persecution broke out in Jerusalem, John ended up in ephesus, and he was the pastor of the church of ephesus. And it was there that he was sent by the Romans because he refused to offer incense of the emperor's shrine, he was sent as an exile out to patmos, there, as a prisoner. Revelation 2:1, "these things says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.

" Again, Jesus is the one that's bringing this message to the church of ephesus. He's acquainted with the church. He's walking amongst the lampstands. Verse 2 says, "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil." So Jesus starts off by speaking words of encouragement to the church of ephesus. It was during this time that there was severe persecution that came against Christians.

And yet, overall, Christianity was pure during that first century time period. They were devout, they were committed to evangelism, they were filled with missionary activity, they were faithful to the doctrine of the apostles, there was doctrinal purity, and they suffered under great trials and persecutions. And then it goes on in verse 3, Jesus says, "you have persevered and you have patience." The church of the first century patiently endured affliction, "you have labored for my name's sake," it was during the same time period 31 ad to 100 ad that the believers in Christ were first known as Christians, and they were called as Christians. Verse 4 says, "nevertheless, I have a few things against you because you have left your first love." So the church was very zealous for doctrinal purity, it was very committed to missionary activity. But Jesus says there's something missing, you've turned more into a form and you've lacked the Spirit or the power of love.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us, "though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but I have not love, I have become as a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could even remove mountains but I do not have love, I am nothing." So the church was lacking in this love, this devotion to Christ. When love is absent in the church, the church loses its position as being the light of the world. So the Bible tells us that God is love. And then when there is love lacking in the church, we can't represent Jesus to a world that is in need.

Jesus said in John 13, "a new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this will all know that you are my disciples," how, "by the love that you have for one another." So in order for the church to hold Jesus up to the world, the church needs the love of Christ. Verse 6 says, "but this you have, that you hate, the deeds of the nicolaitans which I also hate." Who were the nicolaitans? The nicolaitans were a group of Christians who claim that obedience was not required by God. If you had faith in Jesus, you didn't have to obey Jesus, they actually practiced adultery and eating things sacrificed to idols, and they said it doesn't matter what you do with the flesh as long as your spirit is devoted to God. Jesus says I hate the deeds of the nicolaitans.

Do we still have nicolaitans in Christianity today that say you don't have to keep God's commandments, that some of the commandments of God done away with? The church of ephesus recognized the importance of obedience for the Christian. Verse 7 says, "he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Now that is given to each of the churches. Jesus says, "he who has an ear, let him hear." And there in the original language, it's more than just hearing what Jesus says. It's hearing and understanding and then putting into practice those things that Christ has told us to do. So the seven churches represent these seven time periods that we find representing the Christian era from the first century all the way to the church of laodicea which would be the church of today.

Each of the churches have a promise that Jesus gives to those who overcome and to the church of ephesus, the promises you will eat from the Tree of Life. What a wonderful promise that is in the midst of the paradise of God. So they are important lessons that we can learn from the seven churches. Well, it looks like we're out of time for today. Again, I want to welcome and thank those who joined us part of our study today.

You don't have to stop studying now, even though the program is over, we want to encourage you to go to the Amazing Facts website, and you'll learn so much more about the book of Revelation and these important lessons. I'd like to remind you about our free offer for today. It is a study guide entitled the ultimate deliverance talking about the second coming of Jesus. If you'd like to receive this, you'd want to give us a call on the number on the screen or you could text and ask for the free offer, and we'll be happy to send it to you. Until we study next week, may God bless.

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Amazing Facts change lives. I was addicted to all different types of things. I finally hit rock bottom when I got pulled over one night after having enough partying with some friends. I was drunk high on ecstasy. And I realized then that I had to make a change.

I was in the military and listening to very satanic music every day, and heard this whisper to carve 666 into my knuckles, contemplated on it a while and I was sitting at my desk and I had my knife on me. And I started carving the horizontal lines for the sixes into my index finger first with squared edges, and started to enjoy it. I wanted to make it known who I wanted to follow actually and not knowing I was following satan at the time, just I thought it was a cool thing to do. So I met this guy online, and that was my husband vince. And I noticed his ears and we started talking and he was just adorable.

Flew down and actually met her here in Arizona. And at that point, I found out quickly after we met that I was pregnant. So shortly after our daughter was born, it was a very exciting moment. But the nurses and doctors noticed something right away that she was extremely orange with jaundice. And she ended up in the hospital very sick.

And it was extremely hard on us. We were teenagers, we were scared, our baby was sick. I was with someone that was very angry. And at that point, we were in the hospital room. And I remember a chaplain coming in and speaking with the people, since it was like a conjoined room, we had a roommate.

And the chaplain had said, you know, if they could pray for the other family, and that's when I knew there was my chance. I had to take that opportunity. And I asked my husband, "should I go talk to him?" And I said, "no way, I have nothing to do with God. I wanted nothing to do with talking to this chaplain." I decided that I was going to get up anyway. And I got up and you could tell he was very angry that I decided to walk over.

And I went to the chaplain and I asked him to come over and speak to us and he did. And he came in, and we asked him questions, and he actually came to visit us every single day. The chaplain that we met with mentioned Amazing Facts study guides and just the ministries. He showed us videos and study guides from Amazing Facts, specifically, it was on final events in cosmic conflict. At that point, we had transferred hospitals to an outpatient hospital, and we were able to watch these videos and we were hooked onto them.

It was a huge blessing. We would watch Pastor Doug and we would sit up late at night watching sermons. And we were just teenagers, most kids our age were doing crazy things. And here we are at home with popcorn and chocolate bars watching Pastor Doug. This young couple came into the camelback church holding a beautiful little baby.

And this was one of the first times that I had ever met vince and brittany. We needed somebody to show us that they loved us and they supported us. And pastor ben was there giving us Bible studies on marriage counseling as well as baptism. I was still smoking and drinking lightly and a few things along those lines. And it was one day when I woke up on February 15, 2011, after watching many sermons on Amazing Facts from Pastor Doug and having a really solid church family that I was able to say no more.

And from that day on, I stopped all of my addictions. And ultimately, their lives begin to take on just a new dimension of congruity because Jesus was there and he was the one who was bringing that sense of belonging and hope and help. We decided to get baptized and married, and we got baptized one day and married the next and it was an amazing experience. And we found a spot by the lake and it was absolutely perfect. The evening was coming to a close, the sun was about ready to go down.

And we were standing in the water with pastor ben and the sky was such a deep red, the reflections off the sky, it was almost as if we were standing in blood, we were washed in the blood of Jesus. That was the moment that God painted the canvas of the sky with the most beautiful colors signifying the journey that he was going to be laying out for vince and brittany. Shortly after we were baptized, about a month later, we had realized that my scars were gone, I was completely healed physically of not having the 666 on my knuckles anymore. And I struggled with that for so long because of what I did, and he forgave me. Many times when we think of the way that we've been led to Christ, we think there's usually one individual, but having been able to work alongside pastor ben and pastor white, it's been great to see how we've been able to work with brittany and vincent and seeing them just really grow.

And this has really been something that's been beneficial to me. You know, sometimes I think about this, and the Bible says, "more blessed is he who gives and receives," and I feel many times more blessed just seeing them, and seeing all the challenges they've gone through, all the difficulties, and seeing them overcome these things, it's just, it amazes me. As I reflect back on everything I've done in my life, completely going against God, wanting nothing to do with him, he still tried so hard as if I was the only one that was lost just as he promises. He still went and found me even though I wanted nothing to do with him. Having Amazing Facts and the pastors in our lives help us so much, it's really a blessing, and I feel like now we're happy and we have these two healthy, beautiful little girls, and God has truly blessed us.

And I just want to share it with everyone. I want to scream it, I'm so excited, and I feel really blessed to even have this opportunity to share my story.

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