Sermon: Revelation 14

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10 thoughts on “Sermon: Revelation 14”

  1. You threw out a challenge on this verse:

    Rev. 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.

    So I will give a brief answer. First of all, yes, I believe that the terms: “Israel” and “Jew” apply to faithful believers. The proof for this is extensive…it is all through the New Testament, so I will not put all those proofs here.

    But having taken that view, you challenged those who believe that to show what this verse in Rev. 14 means. Briefly then: Rev. 17 describes Babylon as the “mother of harlots”. A mother has daughters who are also harlots. Harlotry, is joining of a married woman to another partner.

    A woman represents one who was called to be the “bride of Christ” (Jer. 3:14, Hos. 2:19, 2 Cor. 11:2). Unfaithfulness, in following the world, or seeking the power of the nations instead of God, is likened to adultery (Ezek. 16:8, 13-15, 32; Jer. 3:20; James 4:4; Rev. 17:2).

    We do not need to look far into the future to see the “mother of harlots” who was “drunk with the blood of the martyrs”. It’s right there in history: the papal church, who courted the powers of the nations, and persecuted the truth bitterly, even to the near extermination of the faithful. She is the Jezebel of the Thyatiran church, she is the one who produced the martyrs whose blood cries in Rev. 6 (the fifth seal), she is the one Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians who would “sit in the temple of God”, whose spirit was already at work in the early Church and grew steadily through the falling away of the purity of the church in the 2nd to 6th centuries. The history has been written. One only needs to read it.

    She is the mother, and her daughters are those other churches, Protestant or otherwise, who turn away from advancing in the truth, to follow in her track: undermining the power of the gospel through false theories, bringing in the customs of the world, seeking after money and favor, rejecting the messages that would heal them, and persecuting those who want to finish the reformation.

    Therefore, not being “defiled with women” means coming out from those apostate bodies who no longer have the living truth among them. It means learning the power of God that is in the true gospel, and building on that entirely, instead of the power of money, the world, the favor of people, or the kings of the nations.

    That’s what it means to be a “virgin” in God’s sight.

  2. That’s a lot of gymnastics. I’ll stick with it being Israel since He clearly said the 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel. I don’t know how He could be more clear.

  3. He also said they were virgins, and you had some difficulty explaining that one in your sermon. Because according to your interpretation, the 144000 would have to be not just physical Jews, but unmarried physical Jews, who had in fact, never had sex before. This seems to be against women, and against marriage. But this cannot be, as God created marriage, and created women, and women are not inferior to men in Christ’s kingdom, where there is “neither male nor female.”

    I could ask a simple question: Are the 12 tribes from literal, physical descendants of Abraham, or spiritual descendants? Immediately you see that you are indeed making an interpretation when you say “physical”. I could just as well say “spiritual” and say the same thing to you, “how could He be more clear?!”

    Let’s take one of the tribes: Reuben. How does the Bible describe Reuben? Does he have curly hair, big feet, large muscles? Why there’s nothing said about that at all. We learn about his character. He slept with his father’s concubine, which was quite shameful. This brought upon him a not-so-good blessing in Genesis 49:3-4, and he lost the double blessing that should have gone to the firstborn (which went to Joseph instead…and that purely because of character qualifications). Apparently his children learned to overcome where their father was weak, because in Deut. 33:6, Moses gives his tribe a better blessing.

    But here we have 12 different sons, and each one is blessed (or cursed) according to his character. Jesus, as the new Israel, also chooses 12 apostles, each one of strikingly different character. Now the foundations of the city of New Jerusalem have the names of the 12 apostles, and the gates have the names of the 12 tribes. Now we expect, if we are faithful, to go into that city. But which gate shall we go in by? Shall we assume that because we are not physical Jews today, that none of us can go into the city? Or is the qualification by character?

    The only qualification in the book of Revelation is character: Rev. 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    Therefore, I hold that the 12 tribes represent different types of characters of men, each one having overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Rom 9:8 – “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”

  4. Well that’s a shame then. I am open to hearing more of your reasons.

    Pardon me for adding one more comment. But in my understanding, Revelation is “the revelation of Jesus Christ”, and the gospel (Romans 1:16-18) is also the revelation of Jesus Christ. If we can’t see the outworking of the power of the gospel and character of God in the final book of the Bible, then something is wrong. If it’s just a battle of various worldly powers, and in the end Christ rises and squashes them all with superior force, well, that’s not the gospel. That’s the kind of Saviour the Jews expected in their day. Shouldn’t we have learned something since then?

  5. Christ judges the eternal state of souls; that’s kind of why we need the Gospel. He came the first time to save; the second to judge. Israel missed the first coming. That was their error. But Christ is coming again to judge.

    Fundamentally, my problem with your approach is your failure to see Israel. As long as you don’t see Israel as a player in Revelation, we will not agree.

    My opinion of Adventist eschatology is that William Miller and the guys who tried to justify his errors, are starting with a theory and then pick a few verses that seem to bolster it. The Dispensational approach to Revelation is to read the words and try to use them as simply and literally as possible; take the verses to make a theory. The only way you will agree with me is if you drop your Adventist traditions. The only way I’ll agree with you is if I adopt the Adventist tradition. I can’t imagine either scenario coming about.

    I believe you are wrong. You believe I am wrong. I am not going to agree with you no matter how many words you use. In fact, the more words you are using, the more I am disagreeing! I am ok with this and I encourage you to be ok with it too. We agree on many other issues. I do not like arguing about Revelation. Apparently you do. I don’t want this to be a deal. There is really nothing else I can say on the issue other than what I am preaching. If you don’t like what I’m preaching, I got nothing else.

  6. Jeff. I’ll respect that. I reserve my longer arguments for my own website, but I hope that since your blog is public, you will allow comments that from time to time do not agree, or ask questions.

    In defense of Miller, he didn’t start with “a theory”, but rather built upon the Protestant tradition of historic prophetic interpretation. You can browse the massive 4-volume set “Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers” (http://docs.adventistarchives.org//documents.asp?CatID=79) which delves into all the history of prophetic interpretation from the early church, through the Reformation, and to the Adventist times, and you will see a logical progression of interpretation.

    You can look up a book on a famous debate between a Protestant and Roman Catholic in America in 1837: A Debate on the Roman Catholic Religion (https://archive.org/stream/debateonromancat00campiala#page/n3/mode/2up). When the Protestant scholar deals with prophecy, many of his interpretations agree with what Miller taught. That was before there ever was an Adventist church.

    I want to see Jesus in prophecy, and the power of His gospel, because that is the solution to the sin-problem and rebellion. Jesus was the true Israel, and in Him all the promises meet and have their end. I don’t know what the New Testament means if it doesn’t show that God is able, by His creative power, to make true Israelites and Jews, who live by faith and not by the power of the flesh. He “will call them my people who were not my people.” Rom 9:25. A simple gospel principle is that it is “not where we are, but who we are, that determines what we are”, or “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Prov. 23:7. I simply advocate that we must not throw out the gospel rules when interpreting prophecy.

  7. Jeff, I wanted to address your first few paragraphs, regarding “seeing Israel”, not to argue with you, but to understand you better, as I have not studied all the things you have built your interpretation on.

    Why do you not think that the preaching of the gospel is a time for (physical) Israel to come to Christ also?

    Doesn’t Paul say that the grafting in of the Gentiles is “to provoke them to jealousy”?

    Isn’t the gospel “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”? (Rom. 1:16).

    Then in what sense are the physical Jews (since Christ’s day) not getting a chance now, that they deserve some kind of “special dispensation” later on?

  8. I think you are missing the point.

    Jews and Gentiles can both respond to the Gospel right now, I have never denied that.

    My point is that God made covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David about racial Israel reigning in their Promised Land. This has never happened in the scope God promised. I believe God will fulfill these promises because He is not slack concerning His promises. The elect remnant of Israel is beloved for the sake of their fathers (Rom 11:28). Because of the promises God made to their fathers, God will deliver on the promises. There is no sense in which the Church has fulfilled these promises in any kind of literal sense to this point. Therefore, the fulfilling of these promises must be later, and I believe Revelation prophecies that.

    I know you don’t think so. Which is fine. You can’t be right all the time!

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