The Gift of Prophecy and God’s Remnant Church

Lesson 4

January 24, 2009


Scripture: Revelation 12; 14:1-12.

On December 27, 2008, while much of the world was enjoying post-Christmas memories, Israeli F-16 strike fighters launched air attacks against targets in the Gaza strip. Bombs struck Militant bases, a mosque, government buildings, a science building in the Islamic University, and a U.N. operated elementary school in a Palestinian refugee camp.1

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas had expired in December, and the attacks were a response to the over 3,000 Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel in 2008. In the first five days of strikes, U.N. and Palestinian medical staff estimated that at least 434 Palestinians were killed; at least 2,800 Hamas militants and civilians were wounded. A few days later, on January 5, 2009, Israel began a ground invasion of the Gaza strip.

According to U.N. and Palestinian officials, the three weeks of fighting has killed more that 1,100 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis have also been killed.

A sigh of relief came last weekend when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that his Security Cabinet voted in favor of a cease-fire.2 In a televised address, he said that Israel’s “goals have been achieved, and even more.” The following day, Hamas and other Palestinian factions announced they would give Israel a one-week cease-fire. The move came after the Prime Minister said he wanted to withdraw troops as soon as possible. Although he says Israel has no intentions of remaining in Gaza, Olmert wants assurance that a new cease-fire will be stable.3 But will their war ever really end?

The book of Revelation tells of a different kind of war. It describes a spiritual war between the dragon, symbolizing Satan, and the woman, symbolizing the church. It is the war that will ultimately put an end to all wars.

According to chapter 12, the dragon is angry with a particular group of people who have two identifying marks. They are “those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (verse 17). As Seventh-day Adventists, we teach loving obedience of all God’s commandments. We believe that all 10 were given for our benefit and for us to obey. We can’t pick and choose which ones are convenient or agree with us. God’s law hasn’t changed since the commandments were given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Obedience out of a love relationship with God is an identifying mark of this end-time church.

The other identifying mark mentioned in chapter 12 is the “testimony of Jesus,” or what we understand to be the prophetic gift. This gift isn’t a general gift given to every church member. Instead, Jesus chooses who will receive this gift, which will be used to communicate His will for His people—especially in the end times.

The fact that Adventism clearly meets these two requirements for the remnant church doesn’t give us cause to boast. Nor does being a member of this church assure us of salvation. Rather, this realization should come as a humbling thought. It’s offers the chance for self-reflection and for asking ourselves, “Am I merely an Adventist Christian by name, or am I truly a living example to the world around me? Do I live by the truths taught by this church through scripture, or do I choose which I obey? Have I lost the fire in my soul for Jesus and the teachings of this church? Am I just coming and going from Sabbath to Sabbath?

Good questions to ask ourselves. And if we come up short, where do we go? To the head of the church—to Jesus—who can lead us back into a true relationship with Him. Then we’ll be spiritually strong and ready for the final battle that will end with His second coming.

~nc


1.  Wikipedia

2. Fox News

3. Fox News


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