Horizontal Menu Bar

Testimony To The Church Part 1

[Note: See the precedenting, -but now/here Eschatologically-advanced, (thematically&chronologically accurate) Historical fulfillment (=538-1798 AD: Catholic vs. Reformers Ordeal+French Revolution+Papacy “Wounding”) of this prophecy in this dedicated post].

[Initially Released: June 26, 2000]

            Rev 11:1
Then a reed similar to one of a measuring rod [cf. in 1T 577.2b] was given to me, causing to be said: “[Make it your top priority to] raise up yourself, and [begin to] measure/judge/evaluate [see Matt 7:1-2 = “indict” (Gr. krino #2919 = Rev 19:11 -see in here] the sanctuary [belonging to] God, [that is] both the Altar  (i.e., priestly/Temple ministry[1]) and the ones who worship in it.”

            The Seventh-day Adventist Church, as God’s Faithful Remnant of Israel has been a movement of prophecy. But as God’s Israel, God fore-envisioned that there would come a day when the church would lose its initial zeal for Him. Like the spring at the peak of Heliopolis that “flows hot from the spring, but cools as it flows down the hillside-depositing minerals-[and] flows warm past Laodicea"[2] (lit. expresses the pivotal need for a “righteous people/laity” LDE 49.1; RH, August 19, 1890 par. 10-11; June 19, 1888 par. 5), God, who ‘can “foresee” the probable deeds of this Church’ (Rev 3:15) knew well-enough that His tremendously blessed end-time chosen people would eventually literally become a stagnating, nauseating pool of lukewarm water; with the citings of being: “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” indicating attained collectively deficiencies in ‘character, spirit/psyche, socio-economy, physical wellness and image/dignity,’ respectively. (Rev 3:16-17).
            Therefore while God did lead His people through the experience of Rev 10 during the Second Advent movement,[3] He also indeed fore-envisioned that there would come a time when this Sanctuary of truth, which He has been able to grace with His presence would one day have to be measured to see if it measures up (Ezek 40-42; 43:10-12 [relatedly, similarly also (“angelicly”) done for the later (rebuilt and) established New Jerusalem (Rev 21:15-17)]; cf. 7BC 972 on Rev 11:1; Rev 11 is a direct continuation of Rev 10. E.G. White, writing in 1906, also understood that Rev 11 had a future, Eschatological fulfillment. See LDE 95.4 (=21MR 91.4 (1906))). Unlike any other Church or denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is “judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T 247.2). That is why the Court (i.e., the courtyard/sheepfold [John 10:16]), in Rev 11:2, that is outside of this Sanctuary, is categorically said to be left out. The symbolic representation here is understood through an analysis of the layout of the Sanctuary. Outside the building itself, in the temple courtyard, stood the altar of sacrifice. Therefore, in a New Testament context, this means that all those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, are in that courtyard. But among those, there is a group of believers  who ‘have followed Christ into the Holy Place, and then Most Holy Place as of October 22, 1844.’ Therefore they have been more privilege than those who remained (or who are) in the courtyard as they have had “greater light,” but strangely enough it is the “Gentiles” in the courtyard who, apparently by God’s approval, end up having power over, and pillage the Holy City (and inevitably its Temple,  as Jerusalem’s historical destruction testifies) and bringing it to a complete destruction for the prophecy in Rev 11:2 is a direct allusion to Jesus’ prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24~Rev 11:2). The only difference (which actually is a specification) being that the “set/appointed times” of the Gentiles is shown to be in Revelation as the period of 42 months.
             The historical fulfillment of Rev 13:5ff, where this same time period is mentioned, and in similar terms, reveals that this then refers to the time when an apostate Church has power over God’s True Church/Remnant, and is also because God’s True Church/Remnant has lost its savor (Matt 5:13) and gone astray. Bible students of earlier years in Church History, seeing the verbatim and thematic link between Rev 13:1-10 and the Prophecy of Daniel 7, and then seeing that these passages are also related to the prophecies on “Babylon the Great” elsewhere in Revelation (chs. 17, 18; cf. 12), and then seeing a contemporary fulfillment of this in the Church of their day, rightly came call this period as their “Babylonian Captivity.” Interestingly enough, from the theme alluding to Ezekiel’s ministry to a wayward Remnant of Israel in Judah is continued here from the measuring allusion in Rev 11:1 (~Ezek 40-42), and keeping in mind that Ezekiel was raised up by God during the literal/historical Babylonian Captivity, upon which this prophetic allusion is based on, it can be concluded here that his ministry is also fully in view here as a (background) motif/model for the Two Witnesses in this prophecy. His ministry focused both on prophesying of a just judgement on a blind, lawless and rebellious Judah who were trying to conduct God’s Temple ministry by mixing in unbiblical rites and methods (Ezek 8). However, the second part of Ezekiel’s ministry provided the blueprint for a full restoration from this most far reaching judgement of God on His People; from the restoration of Judah, the lost tribes of Israel, the Temple and Jerusalem. (cf. Introducing The Bible, 350, 351)[4]
             In a very similar way God’s Remnant today, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been given the warning that: “In these last days God’s people will be exposed to the very same dangers as were ancient Israel. Those who will not receive the warnings that God gives will fall into the same perils as did ancient Israel and come short of entering into rest through unbelief. Ancient Israel suffered calamities on account of their unsanctified hearts and unsubmitted wills. Their final rejection as a nation was a result of their own unbelief, self-confidence, impenitence, blindness of mind, and hardness of heart.” LDE 60, 61; (cf. Rev 3:17). 
             Just how evil and deadly is this sin of unbelief~faithlessness~lukewarmness? In a letter, Ellen White made a systematic analysis of the Rebellion of Ancient Israel when they had arrived at the borders of the Promised Land (see 15MR 292). She then made the inspired connection of this passage with the mention of a halted end-time plan of God in Revelation 7:1-3 and concluded by saying:

“Had the people of God believed Him and been doers of His word, had they kept His commandments, the angel would not have come flying through heaven with the message to the four angels that were to let loose the winds that they should blow upon the earth crying, Hold, hold the four winds that they may not blow upon the earth until I have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads. But because the people are disobedient, unthankful, unholy, as were ancient Israel, time is prolonged that all may hear the last message of mercy proclaimed with a loud voice. The Lord’s work has been hindered, the sealing time delayed. Many have not heard the truth. But the lord will give them a chance to hear and be converted, and the great work of God will go forward.” [Cf. EW 37, 38]

            She also adds elsewhere, also commenting on this prophetic episode in Revelation, that: “the message, the last message of warning and mercy, has been retarded in doing its work by the selfish love of money, the selfish love of ease, and the unfitness of man to do a work that needs to be done.” [15MR 222-223 #59]
            Nonetheless the Great work of God will indeed go forward, as Rev 11 goes on to show that God then begins to work with His Two Witnesses:

And I will [keep on] giving to my two witnesses and they will prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, having clothed themselves in sackcloths.

            The allusion to the 1260 days identifies these Two Witnesses with the virtuous “Woman” of Rev 12 who had to flee into the wilderness for 1260 days, but was still there fed by God Himself. The mention of them having clothed themselves in sackcloth further indicates that their message is primarily a message of “mourning and repentance”  in regards to God’s coming judgements. (Cf. 2 Sam 3:31; 2 Kgs 19:1-2 /Jer 4:8; Jon 3:6-9; Dan 9:3;{Zech 13:4} Matt 11:21; esp Matt 3:(2-3), 4~Isa 40:1-3).
            Who are these Two Witnesses? Based on the Word of God they are:

...the two olive trees and two lampstands, the ones standing established (cf. 1 Kgs 17:1; 18:5 (also 2 Kgs 3:14; 5:16)) before (i.e., in the sight/presence of) the Lord of the Earth.

            Meaning they are God’s New Israel/Church (See Zech 4:3, 11-12~ Rom 11:17-24, cf. Adv. Rev & Sabb. Herald Sept 14,1897, par. 6; and Zech 4:2, 11~Rev 1:12-13, 20; 2:1, 5); and like the symbolic figures upon which they are based-Zerubbabel, the (Davidic) Priest-King and Joshua, the (unworthy) Zadokite* High Priest (Zech 3:1-7)-they have the mission of reestablishing a group of Israelites who have come out of the Babylonian exile- both politically and religiously- and thus rebuild the Temple, the City and the Nation. *[(The Zadokites were the priesthood from the Levites who were to “keep charge of the altar” in the days of the Second Temple. (Ezek 40:46)].  Revelation 11:4~Zech 4:13, 14 goes on to indicate that, in the sight of God, the movement of the Two Witnesses, as insignificant as it may seem, is the one which He considers as His True Church on earth.
            The mission of these Two Witnesses is further revealed in Rev 11:5, 6 and is shown to be one that is similar to Jeremiah, Elijah and Moses, (among other prophets cf. DARCOM vol 6 page 25. Similar “typological fulfillments” were seen in the ministry of Jesus - Matt 16:14), and in that order (based on Acts 1:9/Isa 49:6) as: 

1. They have to warn against a coming destruction of the Jerusalem as Jeremiah (Rev 11:5~Jer 5:14)
2. They have to marshal a reform for unadulterated religion in all of Israel (12 tribes) as Elijah Rev 11:6a~(1 Kgs 18:21, 30, 31; Luke 4:25; James 5:17)
3.They have to call a people of God out of Egypt so that they can worship God according  to His Laws as Moses. (Rev 11:6b~Exod 3:10; 4:23; 5:1; 7:14-25; cf. Heb 11:26=GC 460.1).
[This a mission that is quite similar to the one of  “God’s Servant” in Isa 40-55 (see esp 49:5, 6; comp. Hag 2:23~Isa 42:1]

            God then reveals that His Two Witnesses will receive tremendous opposition during their Christlike ministry of a (symbolic) 3 ½ day period as He says: 

And whenever they shall have completed their testimony, the beast which is coming up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and put them to death. Rev 11:7

            This “beast which is coming up out of the abyss” is the Rev 17:8 spurious, ‘resurrected, through “image”-imitation’ (Rev 13:3 & 14-17),  “Babylonian” Religio-Economic, i.e., ‘Protestant-Capitalist’, Power, which has been increasingly arising since 1798, and which is staunchly opposed to, and perverts, the Full Gospel of Christ proclaimed by those Two Witnesses; with this beast being “religiously” followed by virtually everyone in the world, (including SDA’s). (= Rev 17:8b)

           The place of their also alluded to Christlike passion is indicated in verse 8 as it says:

And their body upon the street of a city which is great- whichever one causes itself to (A) spiritually be called Sodom [=Ezek 16:48-50] and Egypt, (B) [and] also (metaphorically) where their Lord was crucified.

            (A) First of all, the “city” here spiritually is, as confirmed below, a standing Jerusalem. But with some of the major sins of the cities of Sodom and Egypt by which it is called/named, therefore which is shares similar “character”-istics with, are indeed found in Ezek 16:48-50 with Sodom (see Ed 228.1-2), and for Egypt (see Ed 227.6), a refusal to heed the manifested evidences of God in order to ‘let His people go, that they may serve Him’ (see Exod 5:2ff). And so this is a city which does not live in accordance to the Law of God as it has no regards for others, and also not for God (Matt 22:34-40).
            And interestingly enough, the Jerusalem in Christ’s time went on to reject Jesus (cf. Luke 19:41-44) because it too had those same chief categories of opposition to the summative intents of God’s Law as they ‘unrighteously’ refused to care for people in need (cf. the ‘harlot city’ in Isa 1:21-23, 26), -rejecting the modeling works of Christ (John 10:37-38), and were also refusing to be obedient to the God as revealed in their Scriptures (John 8:47). These same two categories of sins are reigning supreme in God’s end time, presently standing, “spiritual” Jerusalem.

           (B) Secondly Paul’s comments in Heb 13:10-14 (+15-16) shed some light on this “metaphorical place of Passion” as He indicates that Jesus suffered outside of the walls of the then standing Jerusalem. (See also DA 224.5)

            The prophecy of Revelation 11 then makes mention of those, who like in Paul’s counsel in Heb 13:13 will take sides with these two lifeless Witnesses and “not abandon their bodies in order for them to be laid into a tomb.” These people are said to be a universal group of those who have come out of  “the peoples, tribes, tongues and nations.” (Rev 11:9) At the same time, the inhabitants of the earth will unsuccessfully be attempting to rejoice and celebrate euphorically over the death of these Two Witnesses (cf. John 16:20) because (the testimony of) these Two Witnesses did “torture” them (Rev 11:10; cf. John 7:7); I.e., the Two Witnesses were working to get them to admit/confess God’s Truths (cf. here).

            Then comes the climatic moment of God’s Triumph as a direct allusion to Ezekiel’s “Valley of the Dry Bones” vision (Ezek 37:1-14), and also Christ’s resurrection (Matt 28:4) is made here as it says:

And after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them and they stood (established) upon their feet and a great fear fell upon the ones who were observing them. Rev 11:11 (Isa 33:1ff; 10-14)

            This indicated that God then would succeed in re- establishing “the whole House of Israel” (Ezek 37:11-14), and Jesus would succeed in establishing His True Church (Matt 16:18). Then following this resurrection, the Two Witnesses are taken to an even “Higher Level” as John heard:

a great voice out of heaven saying to them: “Come up here!” (=Rev 4:1ff message) And they ascended into heaven [by means of] the cloud and their enemies observed them. (Rev 11:12~Acts 1:3, 9; cf. John 6:60-63). 

            And all of this while the “hostile ones” (similarly described/characterized as those spoken of in vs. 5) “observed/studied/theorized” over them.
            Indeed the imagery used in vs. 5 in regards to confrontations of God’s Two Witnesses with these “hostile ones” additionally draws from the OT episode of Elijah vs. the envoys of King Ahaziah. (2 Kgs 2:1-16~(PK 207-212)). There, despite the recent humbling of his father King Ahab, at the word of Elijah, Ahaziah chose to continue in these same past idolatrous ways which had brought about these Elijah reforms (PK 224). Now in his impious endeavor to consult with the priests of foreign gods, ‘as if there was no God in Israel’, his messengers were met with a specially commissioned Elijah. What then followed was a showdown between the king’s captains “sent to intimidate Elijah,” through mindless, hypocritical and disrespectful (cf. Luke 9:54) beckonings. However, that ‘show of force’ was met by a matching show of force from the prophet, a Divinely approved type of response that is also explicitly prescribed to the Two Witnesses in vs. 5. Elijah unwaveringly proceeded as such until the captain of a third contingent from the king pleadingly humbled himself before Elijah, still the message of God to the king through Elijah was unchanged and still far from favorable (vss 9-16). Through Inspiration, this prophetically alluded to “Sin of Ahaziah” is contemporarily, repeatedly applied to those who “turn from the Source of strength and wisdom to ask help or counsel from the powers of darkness” or seek to “work according to worldly plans and worldly wisdom” (see PK 210-212; 5T 191-199; CT 255; CW 117; Ev 608; MM 61; 8T 69; 2BC 1036=MS 41 1894, etc.). 

            Now while this episode of back and forth conflict between “hostile ones” and God’s Two Witnesses appears to be over at this point, it is, in fact, actually just beginning as John go on to add resumptively that:

(And) in that Hour there was a great shaking [cf. 7T 219.2] and the tenth of the city fell and seven thousand names of men were killed in the shaking. And the ones who remained became fearful and gave glory to the God of Heaven.

            This is a warning that the Bible reveals is particularly given to the “faithful” leaders in Israel (i.e., the ministers and leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist Church)-the same “priestly-ministry that was addressed with particular emphasis in the judgement passage of vs. 1. (Cf. this corroborating SOP post). As the Bible shows a “name” is synonymous with a character, (e.g., “one’s good name”). It is one that has been tangibly formed by, and revealed in, ‘one’s works [vs. merely professed faith (cf. James 2)], and not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.’ (ST, March 27, 1884 par. 12). And it really is in testing that the genuine “character” is revealed, and these testings occur in one’s pivotal physical and/or spiritual life experience(s) (cf. Heb 1:3-4 on how the incarnated/human Jesus later came to rewardingly receive a “name” higher than all other angels, as discussed in this forum post.). So it is here in Rev 11:13 being most presciently, and conversely, said here that during this “shaking” those who, as with Elijah’s own 7000, previously had a “mercifully salvageable” ‘good name/character’ will “conveniently”, and that most deceivedly, “sanctimoniously” so, (i.e., ‘the Church surely cannot also “afford”, both in regards to “time” and finances, to help all of the, even vitally, needy’), abandon it here, allowing it to fall, -and that, indeed by having chosen ‘to bow the knee to this world’s Baal’. (PK 170.2 & 188.2)[5]

            The reference to “the tenth of the City” has the same understanding as in Isa 6:8-13. In that passage God commissioned Isaiah to go in behalf of the Godhead to His people and, (uncharacteristically, and strangely enough) tell them:

            'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.'  (cf. 5T 83.2)

He also, actually, instructed Isaiah to:
  
"Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, Lest they see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." (Cf. E.G. White’s application of this statement in 5T 84 {& context pp.80-84}).

The incredulous Isaiah asked God: "Lord, how long?"
 And a no doubt, quite UPSET God (cf. Ezek 8:18) answered:

 "Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly desolate," The Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

[Jesus also had to “resort” to this same treatment when He had to deal with the blind rebellious leaders of His day. (Matt 13:10-15 & John 12:39, 40)]  

God saw that there would be a “holy seed”, a supposed salvageable “remnant” identified as a “tenth” within this city, but He said that it too would be subject to is to the refining fire of full judgement, as He says:

"Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump."

Again we also find an allusion to a similar “tenth” part in the time of the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian captivity (Neh 11:1, 2). At that time, Jerusalem needed to be reinhabited and it was determined that a tenth of all of Israel would make up the people who would live in the “Holy City” It can be seen from these two examples that the “tenth” in the Jewish mind represents the ‘choice part’ or a ‘set apart’ part. (As seen also in the practice of tithing -e.g., Lev 27:30, 32). It is this same type of choice “tenth” that is alluded to in Rev 11:13, but not in flattering terms.

            Then the recognizable mention of "7000" also in this verse is an allusion to the 7000 in Israel that God had told Elijah that ‘He would (lit.) leave for Him’ (1 Kgs 19:18) after the reformation of that apostasy of His people. {And given that the punishing measures that God, as normative with Him (e.g. Num 16), went on to set up as a consequence of the concrete proofing given for this Mount Carmel showdown (1 Kgs 19:15-17) went on to produce the Assyrian Invasion and takeover of the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel, then it is evident that all of these ‘spared "7000" (-probably heads/leaders of households and their responsible/following households (cf. Achan’s judgement (Jos 7:24-25)) were all in the Southern Kingdom of Judah.} But in alluding to this group in Rev 11:13, God makes a connection with an episode from Ezekiel 11, when at that time of a destruction of a rebellious (typologically also corresponding) Judah (Ezek 9-11) [which Ellen White says is a vision of the sealing of the 144,000-Rev 7:4-8 (see TM 445)], a leader in Judah by the name of Pelatiah (Ezek 11:1) suddenly died, to the great astonishment of Ezekiel (vs.13). Perhaps because his name meant: “Yahweh’s escapee/survivor” (Strongs #06413), and he may have been more faithful than another named leader Jaazaniah who, as Ezekiel understood (cf. Ezek 11:13), was not ‘struck dead’ by God (see Ezek 11:1 & 8:11), and whose name meant: “Yahweh gives an ear” (Strongs #0238), Ezekiel understood all of this, (as it could be indicated by his recording of specifically those names in his writings), to be a sign (cf. e.g., Isa 8:1-4; Gen 16:11; 17:19; Matt 1:21 [1 Sam 2:34]) meaning: “Yahweh may give an ear (to their cries), but He will not allow for escapees/survivors (i.e., a Remnant)”, as God had already told Ezekiel (Ezek 8:18). All that Ezekiel could do in the face of this manifestly indicated, resolutely intended, far-reaching judgement of God was ‘fall on his face and cry with a loud voice to God saying: “Alas LORD GOD! Will You bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end?”’ Ezekiel is then shown in vision that God had provided for Himself a new people from the exiles of Israel who were helplessly still in and around Babylon due mainly to the selfishness and indifference of those from  Israel who at that time were back in their land (Judah). These neglected exiles are the ones who would go on to do all of His will (Ezek 11:14-25) and that, under the leadership of a Davidic ruler (Ezek 34:11-31; 37:24-28; cf. 1 Sam 15:28; 16:1).[6]


            In summary, it is the leaders of the Church who are the primary target of God’s judgement of His people and they are the one who fall (i.e., lose their position) during this “great shaking” (Rev 11:13).

            It is then said that the ones who actually survived this shaking went on to become fearful and gave glory to the God of Heaven. This is an allusion to the time of the Sanctuary Judgement of God in Rev 14:7 and every Adventist should know that those to whom this message of God’s judgement has been given first will be the ones who will go through its thorough refining process first. (1 Pet 4:17).

            It is in the light of all of this that the statement made by Ellen White can be understood as she said that:

The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. [Matt 21:42-44]. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work.

When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. ... -14MR 102 (1903).

             This is a solemn statement that was made a few years after Ellen White had repeatedly emphasized that ‘a new denomination was not needed.’(See e.g., in LDE 51, 52). Just like a rebellious ancient Israel, God’s promises, prophecies and plans for His people will have to be put on hold and transferred to an upcoming Mightier and Triumphant people. As God told the generation of Israelites that had failed Him on the borders of the Promise Land: “You shall know my breach (or revoking) of promise.” (Num 14:34b [KJV]; cf.15MR 292 ).

            This message in Revelation 11 is clear enough in itself that all SDA’s should understand (Ezek 3:4-6). The only option is to completely ignore it, and even if the whole Church does (EW 270; Ezek 11:1-12; 12:26-28; 2SM 16) they will still know that God Himself has warned them, and spoken to them. (Ezek 2:3-5; Rev 3:18-22; 2SG 284.1; See in this post).


Notes 
[1] In a 2009 “Youth in Mission” congress sermon [video], in Germany [also preached here], David Asscherick expounds on the obscure, but indeed most significant, “Law of the Altar” that God states just after the 10 Commandments in Exod 20:22-26. As Asscherick posits, it could indeed be considered as an additional Commandment, as it may very well be, based on the narrative in Exod 20:18-21, that it was the people who suddenly interrupted God while He was pronouncing the Commandments when they just could no longer take the fearful awesomeness of the accompanying thunderings and lightnings of Sinai. (However as elsewhere stated, in Deut 5:22, God evidently only wrote the first Ten Statements on the two Tablets (Exod 31:18) of stone. Nonetheless the “Law of the Altar” can indeed be seen as being highly significant given this “high” context when it was revealed/stated.) So from then on, at their request, Moses instead served to communicate what he was hearing from God. If this request had not been made by the people, God may have also gone on to directly speak the rest of the major Laws in the book of Exodus (21:1-24:3) (vs. the Temple’s & Sanctuary Service’s ordinances - Exod 25:1-31:11) to the people instead of through Moses during this first Law Giving session. However, as Moses perceptively related to the people (20:20), God had most deliberately done so with, (at least), those first 10 Commandments, in order to literally put a ‘fear of God’ in them so that they would not sin (i.e., ‘transgress God’s Law’). God probably knew that at one point the people would indeed ask for this “toning down”, however He crucially, (i.e., primarily for their own benefit), needed to instill this initial fear in them (cf. Psa 111:10; Pro 9:10; Isa 33:14-15; Rev 14:7).
            What is interesting in this passage in relation to the symbolism in Rev 11:1, is the prominent focus on the “Altar”, in this “Law of the Altar”, where it manifestly was virtually on-par with the just given 10 Commandments. In his, quite typically, copiously, depictedly-illustrated sermon, Asscherick however makes a fundamental inaccuracy when he makes the pivotal, generalizing claim that: ‘the Altar, upon which sacrifices were to be offered, is a symbol of Christ’. This propels him into making the theological application/conclusion that ‘this quasi-10 Commandments Law was given as a “type” reminder that nothing should be added to the Sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.’ However this is not actually the pointed Theological implication when one understand that the Altar Structure itself is actually distinct from the Sacrifices and Offerings that were offered upon it, and which themselves are the symbols of Christ. Indeed the Altar was the symbol of the operating/facilitating Priestly/Temple Service that administered those symbolic emblems. Indeed throughout the Symbols of the Sanctuary, there exists this similar key distinction between: the Sanctuary “furniture” vs. its “element”. E.g. it was, (as seen in many passages, particularly in the NT, -while moving in order through the Sanctuary), the washing Water or sacrificial Blood, Offerings/Sacrifices, Showbread, Light, Incense, that were various symbols of facets incorporated in Christ, and not the, respectively, Basin(s), Altar of Sacrifice, Table, Candlestick, Altar of Incense. These man-made furniture only served to execute/present those Spiritual, Christological Symbols. (Cf. Matt 23:18-19 - and, pertinently enough, Christ’s full point there was that, though distinct with the temple furniture being key for the due proper execution of these services, both these implements and the offering items they serviced were “synergeticly” working together.) And though they were crucially needed in the proper and effective carrying out of the Sanctuary Service, they were not to become the focal point. And that similarly was the whole purpose of this “Law of the Altar”.
            As seen in the Exod 20:22-23 God’s main concern in all of this was to prevent Israel from skewing off into idolatry. While it may seem quite logical that vs. 22 & 23 are indeed pointedly for this purpose, it is nonetheless also seen that the ensuing “Law of the Altar” is also in regards to this concern of God. As seen in e.g., Exod 24:4-8, as well as in other instances throughout the Bible, this/the Altar was used to affirm/re-affirm the Covenant between God and His People. And so it was repeatedly erected when the Patriarchs and Israel entered new territories so as to deliberately and concretely indicate that they would continue, or renew, to live according to God’s will in this new place/situation. Thus if/when ‘God’s Name’ (= God’s Character) would indeed be remembered by His people then, He, as promised, would come to them and bless them. (Exod 20:24b).
            Yet, in this effort to ‘avoid idolatry in any form’, it was not enough to merely ‘remember God’s name’. To also avoid this sly trapping, God also made specifications in regards to the building of this Altar to carry out this covenant affirming ceremony. So in Exod 20:25 & 26, God first states that this Altar should be built of ‘raw stones’ unimproved with tools, and also, when applicable, that it should not be so elevatedly built, as other pagan nations would do in order to ‘get closer to their god’, and so that: ‘the nakedness of the people walking up to offer their sacrifice would never be exposed on it.’
            Similarly to what Asscherick had concluded, which he did in regards to Jesus Christ (who was “tangibly” actually the offering, and not the built Altar*), the manifest purpose of God in this Law was to avoid something of man’s doing to steal away the credit due to this Altar ceremony. That is easily seen with the requirement to not involve the skilled work of craftsmen in building it. Thus it would simply be built, as is, and unimproved, according to, if built of stone, whatever stone material was on hand. (vs. 25). And if no stone material was used, it would simply be built of the surely available earth (vs. 24a), however that earth altar was not to be so elevated to require steps to access it.

*(It is however the case that, while the Altar is symbolic of what man builds to duly contribute to the Ministry of God, it is symbolic of Christ only in that it is His Ministering template and pattern, as made manifest in His Earthly Ministry, that must be followed in establishing it. And that was literally a: ‘self-abasing, and readily accessible, one, -to, and for, all’ (=Phil 2:3-8ff)).

            Omitting, for the sake of space, all of the exegetical details for the ensuing Spiritual Purpose and also Practical application of this Law, it can be seen/understood that these requirements were made in order to never artificially/unnecessarily, and thus “idolatrously”, provide an obstacle to the honouring and establishment of God’s covenant. Indeed the explicit affirmation of this dedication to God was most fundamentally crucial to the well being of God’s people wherever they would come to be established as it was then, and only then, that He could ‘come to them and bless them’. Without this hedging and prospering blessing, indeed despite what they otherwise thought, God’s People were just as hopeless and doomed as any pagan nation because, not only would the fallen natural world be unobstructedly against them, but moreover, so would the, now unrestrained, Fallen Spiritual World of Satan and his angels. Thus the most tangible need intended in the Law of the Altar so as to never provide an artificial obstacle to the carrying out of this fundamental, concrete ceremony of affirmation.
            It can however be argued that this is not really a tangible need in regards to altars made of earth for, as opposed to the stones for an altar, it really did not require much knowledgeable and specialized skills to be able to build an altar made of earth, let alone the precise perfection of the stone altar. And indeed, God did not focus on the would be limiting skill involved in the building of the more specialized stone altar, but here on the actually easily achievable-by-all possibility that man would comparatively make earth altars as high as they could. Yet the reason expressed against this is not merely the implicit: ‘in order to keep it simple and readily accessible by all’, but so that, while climbing upon it, the offerer’s nakedness would not be exposed. Jumping right into the Spiritual elements found here, this “nakedness” could be understood as man’s unworthiness (cf. Rev 16:15). And whatever they did, short of hamperingly bundling themselves up to the point where they would not be able to climb to the top of the altar, there indeed was nothing they could do to make it through this ceremony without in some condemned way exposing their nakedness in the process. So their best option was God’s requirement to, despite the personal “ascending prowess” of some, keep it unelevated, and thus “safely” and easily accessible by all.
            The tangible/practical application to this in our day is that, the continuation of this covenant affirming ceremony in the Church today, (in order to also express that wherever they may go and be established, they will nonetheless continue to live ‘according to all that God has said’), is indeed being hampered by the artificial and man-honouring requirements that are imposed on the building of such Altars. Indeed, thus the Priestly and Temple Service that God expects to be carried out amongst His people and to the resulting benefit of surrounding non-believers, is artificially limited by various and spurious limitations of man. And so, getting right to the point here, as discussed in this blog post, whereas the Church has all of the raw material resources it needs to carry out God’s desired and expected socio-economic Sabbatical covenant in the Church and in the World, this is not done because the Church is trying to establish this ‘Covenant of Peace’ through worldly customs and practices, namely here, the spurious parameters and dictates of Capitalism. And so, e.g., as moronically and mindlessly seen in Capitalism, though man has all of the needed material and human resources to build needed benevolent institutions, and fully operate them, because of the artificially limiting requirement of money and man-dictated whimsical pricing, such institutions are not built and their services, even if vital, deprived to those who need it. Thus the socio-economic Sabbatical Covenant of God (e.g., Isa 58) is similarly also not established by His professing People. Indeed, as with the altar of stone, the cost of available raw material is artificially and grossly inflated as desired costs for “human skills” and “crafting processing” is variously added to it. Alternatively, as with the Altar of earth, when man is readily and freely capable of doing something, particularly in the sector of Human Resources/Services (which comprises ca. +70% of the economy of the most wealthy countries) in our world’s economic, “eat or be eaten”, system, instead an elevated ‘monument to self’ is erected so that a separation can be artificially made to limit those who can “successfully” ascend to the top, to those who are self-demonstrated to be “worthy” (and thus be considered “acceptable”). So with the Law of the Altar, which was more than mere symbolism as it involved a formal proclamation to God, thus allowing for His needed blessing, God wanted to prevent these destructive material and self-idolatrous trappings from ever being established amongst His People, which in turn would prevent them from being established in their incorporated and due Sanctifying and Healing Ministry to others living around them. Indeed it was the artificial additions that were made to God’s Priestly and Temple Service that later prevent the Jews from accepting the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ, which would serve to fulfill the OT Laws. However, today, as discussed in this Ezek 8 post, we find such base and worldly artificiality, as manifested in competition and striving for gain, reveredly/worshipfully made to be entrenched in the Church, let alone in its supporting/ministering Institutions (=e.g., Isa 56:11; Jer 6:13-14; 8:9-11; Ezek 34).
            Also, as it was shown in this post, as seen here in the development of Exod 20:1-26, had God’s People been most fearful to fully (i.e., Literally & Spiritually) obey the 10 Commandments of God, and thus avoid sin in all of its manifestations (i.e., of Commission & Omission), it would have served to help them avoid the idolatrous profaning of God’s Covenant, as the Law of the Altar was to help protect against. So it is indeed tangibly seen that God never intended to have His Law be unrelated to the expected “Priestly and Temple Ministry” that His People, as ‘a kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation’ (Exod 19:5-6), could, and would, render to the world. Yet if either the 10 Commandments are systematically broken, or the Law of the Altar is defaultly profaned, how can God ever fulfill His Promises of blessings towards His professing People? (Deut 30:15-20).
            Apparently Jesus fully understood all of this Law and Implication as He gave His, probably directly derived, “New Commandment” in John 13:34-35, as it is indeed only when ‘one truly love another (i.e., as they love themselves)’, that such artificial limitations are not imposed to hamper the full ministering to those in need, and that this is to serve as a most convincing/convicting testimony to the rest of the (non-loving) world. Indeed as expressed by Christ in His Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13), ‘one cannot serve God, nor accomplish His Will, nor Mission, through the adoption of worldly practices’ (See COL 366-375).
            Most interestingly enough, all of these themes and notions are compactedly, encompassedly and summatively expressed in a Prophetic statement made to EGW as she says when speaking about the needed, and “Church Shaking”, sacrificing that is require from God’s people to finish His Final, ‘Covenant of Peace (EW 285.1) Work’ on the earth that:

The mighty shaking has commenced and will go on, and all will be shaken out who are not willing to take a bold and unyielding stand for the truth and to sacrifice for God and His cause. The angel said, "Think ye that any will be compelled to sacrifice? No, no. It must be a freewill offering. It will take all to buy the field." I cried to God to spare His people, some of whom were fainting and dying. Then I saw that the judgments of the Almighty were speedily coming, and I begged of the angel to speak in his language to the people. Said he, "All the thunders and lightnings of Mount Sinai would not move those who will not be moved by the plain truths of the Word of God, neither would an angel's message awake them."  {EW 50.3}

            So the Rev 11 “Temple of God” was to also be subject to this “Law of the Altar” reviewing in its judgement “measuring” and, in also the Eschatological age (i.e., 1996ff) it, i.e., the SDA Church, failed that examination!! -(Similarly as had the Catholic Church in Church History (i.e., ca. 1798)).
            
[2] Naden Roy C. The Lamb Among The Beasts. Review and Herald Publishing Association. Hagerstown, MD. 1996. p.88.

[3] See the study by Stephen Bohr on Revelation 10. [Video] [Audio only]. Also see his recent, more expanded, six-part series study on this prophecy here. However, for a more exegetical identification/interpretation of also the Historicist understanding of this prophecy, see this blog post on the Little Scroll.

[4] Clark, Douglas R. And John C. Brunt, eds. Introducing the Bible. Vol. 1. The Old Testament and Intertestamental Literature. New York: University Press of America, 1997.

[5] This far-reaching, leaders and institutionally physical pending judgement understanding upon the SDA Church is seen in the disputedly claimed vision/statement of EGW, the 1908 Loma Linda Vision, thus actually confirming its authenticity. See a discussion of it here

[6] It is commonly, disparagingly, even mockingly, expounded in sermons that ‘Elijah’s statement in 1Kgs 19:10 & 14 was an expression of, e.g., “whining”, “self-pity” and/or ‘myopic/tunnel-vision pridefulness’ and that God actually had 7,000 faithful people in Israel besides this “self-important” Elijah’.  Such unbiblical comments ultimately all stem from various personal/private/subjective (= eisegetical) impositions upon the text. The narrative in 1 Kgs 19:9-18 shows that God was not at all “talking down to” or reprimanding Elijah in any way. (See in this post). Elijah was fully warranted to think that he was the only faithful one left, not out of any prideful fancying, but out of the factualness that, as he stated in vs. 10 & 14 that the unfaithful ones in Israel had engaged in killing those who were not only faithful in the face of this apostasy, but were ‘‘(prophetically) speaking-forth,’ perhaps even ‘pronouncing in faith, sure judgements of God’, against it.’ Such acts of public denunciation would indeed have brought the wrath of King Ahab and Jezebel against Him. In fact, the 100 prophets that Obadiah had hidden (1 Kgs 18:3-5, 13), may also have been killed in this ongoing persecution of the faithful. So Elijah was fully warranted, especially if these 100 prophets had been found and slain, to think that by now, all those who were openly faithful in Israel, (as opposed to lukewarm fence-sitters), had all been killed by now.
            It is also most indicative that God makes mention of (literally) ‘causing to remain (i.e., spare) 7000 people’ in the context of the judgements that Elijah was to carry out (1 Kgs 19:15-17). It is from this, literally, slaughtering of Israel, who were indeed mostly rebels, that God would act to “spare” those who have not paid homage to Baal. And that would apparently be only 7000 out of millions. Paul in Rom 11:1-6 expands on this ‘“remnant” brought about by the working of God’ by showing that it was done through God’s election. I.e. God seeing a faithful person in Israel and specially working with him, literally casting His vote of confidence upon him, to form that necessary remnant. It however can be deduced that it is only by God’s great mercy that this is not what literally transpired, and not because more than 7000 were found faithful in Israel. And as Paul also interlacedly, rightly says in Rom 11:1-6, this was all done by grace, for indeed all those who had rejected the widely known about Jesus Christ should not have been given this second chance to accept Him, let alone be specially acted upon by God to reach this stage of coming to know the truth. So the “sparing” of the 7000 in Israel was out of a graceful, electing act of God, pointedly as these 7000 may have been faithful but silent in the face of apostasy, so Elijah was indeed correct to assume that there was no faithful ones left in Israel as these 7000 were not outspoken, and thus Elijah did not hear about them, nor thus know where they really stood in regards to Baal worship in this kingdom wide apostasy.
            So God was indeed not even telling Elijah that: ‘you are actually not alone as there are 7000 others’; but radically instead that: ‘you will not be alone because I will, and that mercifully, cause 7000 other (silent) ones to remain, (and that during the carrying out of your own divinely-mandated judgement).’ And manifestly God would now do this “sparing” merely for the sake of Elijah, and in response to Elijah's observation of ‘total decimation.’ Thus those symbolically, vs. exhaustively, selectively chosen “7000” were apparently, i.e., in God’s wider view, actually summarily deserving of also being destroyed, and probably due to their manifest, equally capital, sin of indifference during this national apostasy (=3T 280.3), only caring to look out for themselves and their own salvation and not take a public, even king/people confrontational, stance (cf. Isa 56:10-11).* They were thus, unlike Elijah, probably not pleadingly and “fervently” praying for God to do something against this ongoing rebellion. In fact, as related in this post and its linked forum post, it was indeed Elijah himself who initiated the judgement episode on Israel by praying to God for the dew and rain to be withheld. God then indicated his approval of that request. And it is then that God summoned Elijah to be His messenger of that granted judgement request to King Ahab. Thus Elijah indirectly came to volunteer himself for that then, even now, needed prophetic role; being the best, if not lone, man available to God for it. However as the judgement request itself initially came from Elijah, because, as the SOP relates: “He entreated that the Lord would not wholly cast away His sinning people, but that He would by judgments if necessary arouse them to repentance and not permit them to go to still greater lengths in sin and thus provoke Him to destroy them as a nation” (3T 273.2), God, knowing the hearts of everyone in Israel, apparently had instead been “wrathfully”, justly content to deservingly let them continue on this path to sure utter destruction (cf. Isa 6:9-13). So, in terms of ‘Divine expectation’ (Isa 5:2, 4; Gen 6:5-7; cf. Gen 22:12; Deut 8:2; 13:1-3; Jer 17:9-10; 2 Chr 32:31), Elijah’s quasi-intercessory request itself for a potential, ‘by-judgements-if-necessary’, utter-destruction aversion, possibly, may have been entirely “out of the blue”. Hence the stressing of Elijah ‘accomplishing this despite being of “like nature” to any other man’ (James 5:17). If it had been God who had initiatedly told Elijah of this specific judgement, as repeatedly done with the intended message of other prophets, there would be no reason to stress this. So in Elijah, God had suddenly, conveniently found both a ‘neededly, self-generated intercessor’ (cf. Gen 18:13-33; Jer 5:1; Ezek 22:30-31; Isa 59:16 and this forum post) to extend mercy to those willing then to seize it, but also a fitting, though not utter judgement for the impenitent (cf. PK 119.1) And all Ahab had to do to avoid any damage at all was to readily recognize, confess and repent of his nation-misguiding wrongdoings. There then would not have been enough elapsed time for severe, if any, effects of this judgement.
            And this all probably so greatly pleased God that in anticipation of what He expects to be necessary before the utter end, He has made initiating provisions to cause this to somewhat similarly reoccur again (Mal 4:5-6 - cf. this post; -indeed prophetically fulfilled in: Rev 5:6-8ff & 10:1-7ff (see here) = Rev 7:1-3ff (see here).**
            Furthermore, it apparently was pointedly this courageous “(own-[??])forward-thinking and ‘pro-acting’”, comparable to, rarely most-faithful, Enoch of old, that warranted God’s living translation of Elijah. Indeed this may be the common warranting characteristic of all the “firstfruits” who were resurrected at Christ’s death and resurrection to apparently form the 24 elders (Matt 27:52-53). (As discussed here, this may similarly be why David was so highly, enduringly honored by God.) This all would speak to what God expects, action-wise, of the generation that will be translated alive in the end. I.e. people who will courageously and resolutely step out and thoroughly do what is needed and right to Fully fulfill Christ’s Gospel (versus, e.g., those who are first waiting for a Sunday Law to be passed.)

* See the (entire) excellent sermon by Daniel Pel entitled Immune to the Gospel [30:35ff] (audio - 29:05ff) [also preached here] for a similar observation making the right point that those “7000” were clearly/indeed silent during the Mount Carmel showdown, not even then taking a stand for God when called upon by Elijah (1 Kgs 18:21)...Indeed that is the fundamental, “characteristically faulting” (Rev 11:13a) issue with these “7000”, they are only in it for themselves, myopely, cowardly and selfishly, caring more for their: e.g., income, “good” name, human/peer recognition, pensions, audience-market and funding, than for Christ and His Cause-Church-Israel...Which, “naturally” (cf. 1 Cor 2:6-3:3), is indeed why they have only very quietly and/or, at best, limitedly, denounced and opposed the various fundamentally capital standing sinning in the Church which have now long ‘detoured’ (=EW 262.2-3ff) it from its own destiny (=EW 270.2).

** (One would think that people would think twice, at least 7 times, before disparagingly and/or mockingly speaking against a prophet of God, indeed even when he is reacting to quasi-personal issues/attacks (e.g., 2 Kgs 2:23-24)). Hopefully this patent quip is solely/innocently based on the, actually incorrect, understanding that ‘God was here sharply reprimanding Elijah’ (probably based on what EGW understood on/took away from this as stated in e.g., PK 170.1 & 189.1-2) which proper Biblical exegesis however shows was not at all the pointed case. Indeed Elijah was not at all lamenting that he was ‘the only faithful person left in Israel,’ but rather that, on the heels of Jezebel’s great persecution, he was the only prophet (= ‘openly opposed and actively countering person’) left alive. (cf. 10MR 384.2). Nonetheless it indeed was Elijah’s valid outcry that lead to the mercifulsparing” of these 7000.

            So, as relatedly discussed here, the drawn-from symbolism here in Rev 11:13 that ‘7000 names of men would also fall in this “shaking”’ indeed similarly shows that: (a) God would not act here to gracefully spare a remnant for Israel; and thus (b) these “silent”, “faithful” ones in God’s Israel then who should have been outspoken leaders against apostasy, will also fall, i.e., by allowing their characters to fall.



            Relatedly, as also spuriously and even wrongly, claimed e.g, in this 3ABN interview (video) [54:45ff] and the 10-06-12 sermon posted here (video) [18:22ff], it is said that Elijah’s fleeing reaction and then his asking to die was because he ‘suffered from depression’ and even that he was “bipolar”, thus  clinically, manicly depressive, as that state only “clinically” implies. If there was a life record of Elijah going from emotional extreme highs to extreme lows, and that these ‘sudden mood/mental/psychological state switches were without any valid external triggers, then it could be rightly claimed that Elijah was a manic depressive/bipolar. However there is only one instance in the Bible that people can refer to to make such a claim, and in this diagnostic issue, one instance, and that with valid causal reason, does not result in a clinical condition. In fact, a depressive condition cannot even be mentally established that quickly. It takes much time in such a persisting state to result in one’s mental faculties to become chemically unstable, and then a manic depressive state sets in, to the point that even if the triggering reason had been fixed/resolved, that person may still not be able to get out of their ensuing depressive/bipolar state on their own, i.e,. without pharmaceutical drugs.
            Additionally, in 1 Kgs 19:4, Elijah clearly states the actual reason why he wanted to die, and that at the hand of God (versus himself (=a suicide) as “depressive people actually do). In other words, he wanted God Himself to effectuate (deserving) judgement on him, and the reason was that, as he cites himself, ‘because he was no better than his fathers/ancestors’. Just a delving into what Elijah would be meaning here (=exegesis) shows that: because he had gone from seeing the mighty power of God on Mount Carmel, but then lost that faith when he became afraid at the swore threat to kill him by Jezebel, and instead of standing his ground and trusting that God would also deliver him from Jezebel and her army, he indeed had here not done any better than, his ancestors, e.g., at their Golden Calf apostasy (Exod 32), when they too lost faith in God, on the heels of their miraculous Red Sea Crossing and complete victory over the armies of Egypt; their repeated wilderness murmurings despite the testimony of various daily miracles and revelations (Num 14:22); and their sudden faithlessness and cowardice at the reports of the 10 spies (Num 14:1-4ff). So just as God had back then effectuate swift capital judgement on that faithless group, who moreover had persisted in rebellion when confronted by Moses (Exod 32:26-28), Elijah saw it as only just that God would (justly) also do the same thing to him...and manifestly, that was because Elijah had no intent at all from repenting of his faithlessness and “couragelessness”. (cf. James 5:17a) [Relatedly, EGW also had such bouts of ‘prophetic ministry discouragement, despondency and (non-clinical) depression’ (e.g., RH, January 10, 1856 par. 1-2ff), even to the point of also wishing for a “Godly death”. (e.g., 3SM 36.4)].
            This ‘wayward persisting’ of Elijah is seen by the fact that even after an angel, and “the Angel of the Lord” (=Michael (=Jesus) Himself), appeared to him, not reprimanding him at all, and fed him, with the Angel of the Lord adding at the second time that ‘the journey is too great for him’ (1 Kgs 19:5-7), rather than turning back and returning to where he had fled from, Elijah instead, ‘retreat-ively’ (cf. PK 167.1), journeyed, ‘using the strength provided by those two meals from the provided “(hot) bread and water” (which many not have actually been “miraculous food” at all, as commonly assumed, but just enough for two meals (enough to make up for (a) the past day in which he first had ‘toiled all day upon Mount Carmel without food’ (PK 160.2) and then for that ‘day’s journey’ excursion (ca. 8-12 hours of travel, -thus up to ca. 60 miles out, which would be just enough, in a SE heading, to get him just beyond the Jordan River, yet, (according to the SDABD’s Map IX), not yet outside of Israel’s territory then, and thus not yet beyond Jezebel’s lawful reach), and (b) for the one ‘day’s journey’ trip back), [-even God-provided manna only provided enough adequate calories for meals for one day]), over a span of 40 days, further away, this time to the mountain of Horeb, -to the mountain of the God [=Mount Sinai, (cf. Mal 4:4)] (ca. 155 more SE miles away from that one day’s journey stop of Elijah to the most likely location of Mount Sinai in the Arabian Desert (cf. Gal 4:25), at the Jabal al-Lawz site which was discovered by Ron Wyatt (cf. this recent seconding/confirming expedition presentation by another SDA) and not the traditional site in the circularly called “Sinai” Peninsula), evidently deeming that this was the safest place that he could go to... and, given the actual covenant shattering developments which had transpired in Israel, as undeniably confirmed by God’s explicit, beyond-faith, thus bindingly condemning evidence on Mt Carmel, also the “Israel/Covenant resetting” place that he could be, -indeed with him echoing the quite similar “all alone” circumstances which had come to earlier twice be the case with Moses in the Wilderness (i.e., 1 Kgs 19:14 = Exod 32:7-10|Num 14:10-12). In the meal provided after one day of journeying, Elijah had had enough subsistence to not starve over the next forty days during which he ‘predominantly’ traveled. (Exegetical studies show that he expression ‘40 days and 40 nights’ does not actually mean that Elijah walked/traveled/journeyed for ‘24 hours per day over the next 40 days and nights’ (which would actually be enough to walk ca. 2800-3800 miles) but that this was his main activity during that time (and it also included some night time travels. And since that additional 155-mile journey would have only required somewhere between 2.5-6.5 days, it can be reasonably deduced that during those extra 33.5-37.4 days Elijah was, if actually traveling then, then aimlessly wandering in the wilderness, -perhaps he got lost several times, or could not settle on a final destination, and/or he repeatedly was, due to hesitations, halting and stalling his advances which would be an indicator of an ongoing inner struggle all along the way as to whether or not he should continue in this faithless and courageless flight or return back to [his ‘post and duty’ in] Israel. Or, since the food from God that Elijah had was not necessarily/actually “supernatural food”, Elijah’s ensuing persisting journeyings towards Mount Sinai on that single meal were greatly exhausting him and that dramatically slowed down the pace of his traveling, and so he traveled very little per day (on avg. ca. 4.1-4.6 miles|0.8-1.5 hours per day) and was resting a lot, yet still steadily fleeing to Mount Sinai. And, all in all, he, self-forgingly went through a typological “40-day wilderness” wandering/temptation experience where, as involved with Israel and Jesus, his trust in Gods Word and Ways was similarly objectively/candidly “proven|adjudged|tried (Num 14:32-33 & Luke 4:1-2, 3-13), and that, as in those other two (between themselves, polar opposite) cases, after a most high point with God (the Exodus+Red Sea Crossing & Luke 3:21-22).)
            Evidently even God was, at least, (confirmingly (cf. Gen 22:12)) realistically, initially, surprised by that persisted faithlessness and resulting fleeing journeyings,* and all that even despite the tangible/in person apparition by Michael, the Angel of the Lord Himself. Indeed, while people, out of quite tangible physiological reasons, typically do not make the best of decisions/choices when they are e.g., either hungry and/or extremely exhausted/tired/sleepy, as Elijah jointly was when he was joltingly awaken from his (still hungered) sleep and told that Jezebel was seeking to kill him (PK 159.2), for him to later have decided to further flee to Mount Horeb when he was then no longer either hungry or tired, manifested his now fully “cognitive”, resolute choice to persist in his faithlessness. And that is why, at Mount Horeb, God first engages Elijah by asking him: “What are you doing here??” (1 Kgs 19:9). As discussed here, God had other judgement and reformation plans for him (1 Kgs 19:15-18ff), but he first had to go back around the land of Israel region (i.e., not back to Israel itself.) And God went on to display even more reassuring demonstrations to Elijah to restore his faith. (1 Kgs 19:11-14). In fact by Elijah explainingly stating that he had fled because he was the only prophet of God left and they were seeking to take his life, he was actually arguing that it was best for him to hide in order to make sure good would later have at least one person to work with. But that too was part of his lack of faith here. And God actually had plans to effectuate right then and now.**

* I.e. Probably from just after the first feeding of Elijah (1 Kgs 19:5), (-assuming that God went by normative meal intervals here of ca. 6 hours), when Elijah then, instead of heading back to Jerusalem, chose to instead lay down to sleep again, thus indicating that he had full intentions to continue this flight towards his chosen end of Mt. Sinai/Horeb. And so the second time around, the Angel of the Lord tippingly indicated to Elijah that He was fully aware of these ‘further fleeing intentions’ and thus loadedly added: ‘...because the journey is too great for you.’ (1 Kgs 19:6b) Certainly this was not the ca. 1-day at most return journey to Jerusalem which Elijah had just made while being comparatively, in the light of his recent meal and rest, much more hungered and tired.
            So this was God’s way of saying to Elijah that: ‘this was not His will, but I understand, [as easily seen by how the Angel of the Lord did not now here menacingly stand in Elijah’s way, -as He had done before with a similarly wayward Balaam (Num 22:22ff)], and you do need to see my reasons for yourself so as to avoid another retreat like this again in the future’. So God, in graciously providing that second meal to Elijah, was here effectively also saying to Elijah: ‘This is (going to be) the (actually: {Divine-intervention-wise” My), “Last Exit/Rest Stop” until your insistent Mt. Sinai/Horeb destination’.... So, for your own well-being, do again “Arise and eat”.

** Doug Batchelor, in this 11-30-13 “days of Elijah (Part 4) sermon, [27:24-29:04], states that he “believes”, that during his protracted 40-day wandering trip in the wilderness, Elijah was deliberately, and that actually by the express leading of God’s Spirit, ‘effectuating the Exodus+ journeyings of Israel in reverse.’ Now while Elijah, and of himself, may indeed have thus attempted to “sanctify” his courageless fleeing trip, by probably indeed deliberately stopping and staying overnight at the ca. 31 stops which Exodus Israel had made during their journeyings (=Num 33:15-48 i.e., from Sinai to the Jordan borders of Canaan. {-And given those would be 31 ‘deliberate overnighting stops/stays’, plus the above reckoned up to ca. 7 full, (if not up to 9), days for traveling, then that would actually account for Elijah’s 40 days}). But/Well there are several Theological points which easily pop that “theological bubble” by Batchelor. First of all, it would actually be quite bipolar for God to, as Batchelor claims, have been leading Elijah all along this, moreover, faithless and fleeing wanderings, and then, and just judging by the gushingly remonstrating nature of Elijah’s answer (1 Kgs 19:10, 14), manifestly firstly ask Elijah upon arriving at the destination...”What are you doing here?” (1 Kgs 19:9, 13) The account wording of 1 Kgs 19:9 seems rather pointed to me that: ‘I was (only) then that, “behold”, the word of the Lord came to Elijah’, and not as Batchelor fantasizes ‘all throughout the prior 40 days’. Indeed as the SOP implying, puzzedly expresses here, -from God towards Elijah: “But who sent you on this hasty flight into the wilderness? What errand have you here?”  (PK 168.1 -emphases supplied)
            Also, God leading Elijah step-by-step for a 40 day faithless fleeing would be Spiritually tantamount to God having approvingly led rebellious Israel for ca. 40 years following their own faithless stance against Him. (Num 14:9-12ff). Throughout the Bible, -and even GC-necessarily applicable with Jesus (cf. DA 114.2ff, 118.1ff), 40 days of wilderness wanderings is only associated with ‘temptation, tempting, or being tested by (i.e., when not actually being therewith sheltered by (e.g., {1 Kgs 17:2-6 =} Rev 12:14)) God.’ It certainly is not meant to be ‘faith (re-)building,’ and certainly not “in reverse”, -which inherently implies that one is not even convinced by how things had turned out in the end. As with Israel, the only solution for Elijah in such circumstances of already clearly/pertinently demonstrated power of God was to keep going forward, and not turning aside or back.
            (-And it is substantively, addedly significant to note contra. Batchelor’s chronologically wild/whimsical claims that the episodes of “bread from heaven (Exod 16:1-7ff = Num 33:9-11) and ‘lack of water due to bitterness at Marah’ (Exod 15:22-25 = Num 33:19b; (similarly Exod 17:1-7 = Num 33:14)) both occurred before Elijah’s last stop of “Mount Sinai” (Exod 19:1-2ff)).
            So while Elijah himself may have tried to justify, or merely self-importance his hasty, faithless and quasi-rebellious flight, by “reversedly” stopping at the Ancient Israel wilderness stops, -and with each stop manifestly still not convincing him to turn back, it was not at all by God’s will, nor guidance. Indeed the last “assistance” that God gave to Elijah for that unjustified “hasty” flight was the, (and also contra. Batchelor’s wishful claim: non-miraculous) meal that he had provided Elijah for merely his physical subsistence/necessity.

            So, also here, disparagingly speaking against/about Elijah is exegetically proven to be wrong, He was neither (clinically) depressed, manic depressive/bipolar (or even, as discussed further above, an “elitist”), but only that he had chosen to, and that resolutely so (‘for the good of God and His Cause’), not have faith in God in the face of the various clear and present dangers and realities that he would have to, and only through God’s power, overcome. And he thus justly asked that God put him to death for such faithlessness, but a most understanding God actually had other plans.

            It is people who have had not such comparable/relatable extreme (e.g., ‘one against the murderously-disposed/intentioned rulers/people/world/armies’) experiences of faith with/in God as Elijah (as similarly also did: David, Moses, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jonah, etc.), who, effectively “sanctimoniously”, sit back in their “arm chairs” and/or bleachers and “deemingly judge” that: ‘Elijah, et al., must have had (effectively, if not pointedly: clinical) mental issue(s).’

2 comments:

  1. If I understand this post correctly there are destinct warnings given for those within the Laodicean church and you are alluding that a later fulfillment of Revelation 11 is impending. Yet no new denomination if forthcoming but a shaking if you will, can demonstrate the true from the false (seperation of the sheep and the goats if you will, both sanctuary animals yet only one is kept for the kingdom) I also feel that the goats (scapegoat parallel perhaps) can be "Christians" in the sense of profession but falling into apostasy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. God in His prescient wisdom can, and has given prophecies which will pertinently speak to various generations of believers. I believe Rev 11, in fact the entire book of Revelation, is another fulfillment of this. The results of the shaking will indeed definitely reveal the two sides in God Church, however one must not limit their understanding of the true side to those who strictly remain within the current existing physical buildings, organization and institutions. God’s truth is greater than any physical construction and I believe that if the results of this shaking reveal that most of the Church chose to uphold unbiblical teachings, methods and views, than a separate organization, and all that this entails, will have to be established to house a, then, remnant few who chose to follow God’s Biblical ways. As Stephen told the Sanhedrin who believe that God was still in their midst because the physical Temple was still standing, God is not limited to structures made with human hands. (Acts 7:47-50; cf. Matt 23:37-38)

    Any such “distinct organization” will actually be a furtherance of the current one with accompanying various institutions that will help the word and teachings of God have a tangible application. So in short, my advice is to not solely look, nor cling, to the “physical,” but learn to perceive, and follow, the Spiritual (i.e., what is Biblical). I would be nice if the whole Church and its supporting institutions would fully understand what God expects of them and how He wants these institutional resources to be used, especially in our increasingly, vitally needy world, but, if Church history in any indication, that will not be the case. Therefore a distinct organization in which the, then, “Church Triumphant” will be able to efficiently function towards fulfilling these neglected Biblical mandate and full Gospel commission, will be an inevitable necessity. Like with Israel’s Temple of old, God’s True Church is actually wherever His presence comes to reside (Ezek 11:23).

    ReplyDelete

This blog aims to be factual and, at the very least, implicitly documented. Therefore if applicable, any comment which contains unsubstantiated/unsupportable ideas will not be allowed to be published on this blog. Therefore make the effort to be Biblical, truthful and factual.

-It typically takes 1-2 days for an accepted submitted comment to be posted and/or responded to.

[If you leave an "anonymous" comment and, if applicable, would like to know why it may not have been published, resend the comment via email (see profile) to receive the response.]