SS Lesson 4 of January 24, 2009 The Gift of Prophecy and God’s Remnant Church
Introduction What are synonyms for the word remnant? The remainder, relics, the rest, artifacts, works of art, historical objects. I like the words relics, artifacts, works of art and historical objects. God’s remnant church are all these words. We will be making history as we endeavor to withstand the attacks of the dragon.
Our memory text for this week was: Revelation 12:17 “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.”
Sunday & Monday Good Versus Evil: Act 1 & 2 Revelation 12:7-17 “War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth.”
“Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying, Salvation and power are established! Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah! The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out, who accused them day and night before God. They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. They weren't in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ. So rejoice, O Heavens, and all who live there, but doom to earth and sea, For the Devil's come down on you with both feet; he's had a great fall; He's wild and raging with anger; he hasn't much time and he knows it.”
“When the Dragon saw he'd been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child. The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in safety and comfort for a time and times and half a time, safe and sound from the Serpent. The Serpent vomited a river of water to swamp and drown her, but earth came to her help, swallowing the water the Dragon spewed from its mouth. Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God's commands and hold firm to the testimony of Jesus.”
Revelation 12 introduces the great controversy between Christ and Satan in symbolic form, and describes its progress from the time of Christ to the time of the end. In verse 1 John sees a dazzling sight—a pregnant woman, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” , and wearing a crown of 12 stars. He calls the appearance a “great sign”, indicating that the woman is more than a mere woman. She is a symbol for the church, or for God’s faithful people. The woman's dazzling appearance links her to Jesus, the Sun of righteousness.
In these verses, a flood of water is sent against God’s people, a symbol of persecuting armies. In Revelation 12:16 the earth is described as helping the persecuted church. In 1620, the first pilgrims, fleeing the religious persecution in Europe, arrived on the American continent. On this newly discovered continent they found a safe haven where the persecuting armies of the European powers could not reach them. Thus, symbolically, the new continent America swallowed up the persecuting armies.
In Revelation 12:17, we are now in the time after the 1,260-day period (which ended at the close of the eighteenth century). Satan, seeing that he was unable to wipe out God's faithful people, is angry with a particular group called “the rest of her offspring” (NKJV) or “the remnant of her seed” (KJV), “the children who keep God's commands and hold firm to the testimony of Jesus.”
Tuesday The Testimony of Jesus What is the testimony of Jesus? Two explanations concerning its meaning have been put forward. The first view interprets “the testimony of Jesus” as man’s witness for Christ. The second view understands “the testimony of Jesus” as the self-revelation of Jesus—His own testimony.
John 5:31 "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.” John 3:11 "Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen…” John 3:33 "He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.”
Revelation 1:9 “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 1:2 “..who testifies to everything he saw-- that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 20:4 “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 1:2 “..who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.” How has Jesus revealed Himself to you? Would you like to know Him better? What’s the only way you can?
Revelation 19:10 “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Wednesday The Spirit of Prophecy 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:10 “..to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
Ephesians 4:11 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” The Spirit of Prophecy through God’s prophets was at the service of the remnant, in the last day church.
Thursday The Remnant Church Genesis 45:7 “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
2 Kings 19:30 “Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” 2 Kings 19:31 “For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Isaiah 10:21 “A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.” Isaiah 28:5 “In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.” Isaiah 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Jeremiah 23:3 "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.” Jeremiah 31:7 “This is what the LORD says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.” Jeremiah 42:2 “Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, "Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left.” Jeremiah 50:20 “In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.”
Micah 5:7 “The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind.”
Zephaniah 3:13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid." Zechariah 8:12 "The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.”
Romans 9:27 “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” Romans 11:5 “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.”
Conclusion As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that we are members of God's remnant church. However, this identification with the remnant church does not accord us an exclusive status with God. You can be part of this corporate remnant and still be lost. Salvation is not guaranteed through membership in any church. We are saved as individuals, not as a church. It’s a great privilege and responsibility, being part of this church, because we have a sacred calling; but being a member of this church no more guarantees salvation than being a Hebrew in ancient Israel did.
Being part of the remnant means only that you have great light, and with that light comes important responsibilities. It does not mean you automatically have salvation; nor does it mean that those who aren’t part of the remnant are lost. It’s an unfortunate fact of sacred history that many of those who were part of God’s remnant not only failed to live up to the light they were given but oftentimes rebelled against it. The claim that we are the “remnant church” can sound very arrogant and exclusive. And yet, why does it make sense that God would have a special people with a special message in the last days? Or does it? Discuss.
Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, pp. 7-16 THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. OF ALL THE BLESSINGS WHICH GOD HAS BESTOWED UPON HIS PEOPLE, THE GIFT OF HIS SON EXCEPTED, NONE HAVE BEEN SO SACRED, AND SO IMPORTANT TO THEIR WELFARE, AS THE GIFT OF HIS HOLY LAW, AND HIS HOLY SPIRIT. AND NONE HAVE BEEN SO WELL CALCULATED TO THWART THE PLANS OF SATAN, AND, CONSEQUENTLY, TO STIR HIS RAGE, AS THESE. AND WHEN THAT PEOPLE SHOULD ARISE IN THE LAST GENERATION OF MEN, WHO SHOULD BE OBSERVING ALL TEN OF THE PRECEPTS OF GOD'S HOLY LAW, AND SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE REVIVAL OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, THEY MIGHT EXPECT TO FEEL THAT BITTERNESS FROM THEIR OPPONENTS, WHICH CAN ARISE ONLY FROM THE DIRECT INSPIRATION OF SATAN. "AND THE DRAGON WAS WROTH WITH THE WOMAN, AND WENT TO MAKE WAR WITH THE REMNANT OF HER SEED, WHICH KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, AND HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST." REV. 12:17. "THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS," SAID THE ANGEL TO JOHN, "IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY." REV. 19:10. IT IS THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, AND THE RECOGNITION OF THE REVIVAL OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY BY THE REMNANT OF THE CHURCH, OR THE CHRISTIANS OF THE LAST GENERATION, THAT STIRS THE IRE OF THE DRAGON.
…SINCE A SPECIAL WORK OF THE SPIRIT WAS NECESSARY TO PREPARE A PEOPLE FOR THE FIRST ADVENT OF CHRIST, HOW MUCH MORE SO FOR HIS SECOND ADVENT. GOD HAS NEVER MANIFESTED HIS POWER TO HIS PEOPLE SIMPLY FOR THEIR GRATIFICATION; BUT ACCORDING TO THEIR NECESSITIES HAS HE WROUGHT FOR THEM. THEN WE MAY SAFELY CONCLUDE THAT AS HIS PEOPLE ARE PASSING THE PERILS OF THE LAST DAYS IN THE FINAL STRUGGLE WITH THE AROUSED POWERS OF DARKNESS, WHEN FALSE PROPHETS SHALL HAVE POWER TO SHOW GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS, INSOMUCH THAT, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, THEY WOULD DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT, OUR GRACIOUS GOD WILL BLESS AND STRENGTHEN HIS FAINTING PEOPLE WITH THE GIFTS, AS WELL AS THE GRACES, OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
WHEN MAN IN EDEN STOOD IN ALL THE PERFECTION OF HIS MANHOOD, BEFORE THE BLIGHT OF SIN HAD TOUCHED ANYTHING THAT GOD HAD MADE FOR HIM, AND WITH OPEN FACE BEHELD THE GLORY OF THE LORD, HE COULD HAVE NO NEED OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. BUT WHEN EDEN WAS LOST IN CONSEQUENCE OF TRANSGRESSION, AND MAN WAS DOOMED TO GROPE HIS WAY FROM THE GATES OF PARADISE, ENSHROUDED IN THE MORAL GLOOM THAT RESULTED FROM THE CURSE AND THE REIGN OF SATAN, HE NEEDED THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. AND HIS NEED IN THIS RESPECT WILL CONTINUE, MORE OR LESS URGENT, UNTIL THE RESTITUTION, WHEN THE REDEEMED SHALL WALK AND TALK WITH GOD, AND WITH CHRIST, AND WITH THE HOLY ANGELS, IN EDEN RESTORED.
In the meantime praise God for “The Inspiration of the Prophets.” That will be the title of Lesson 5. Next week memory text is found in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” May God’s righteousness be ours now and forevermore!!!!!!