Book: God's Plan for Mankind

June 21, 2003

Now let’s look at some other things which cover the Pentecost story, but in some of those things which take place after Pentecost. So it’s proper to go ahead and cover it here. Let’s understand something very important. Come to 1 Corinthians the first chapter please. God is doing a phenomenal thing with His people and His Church. And God never works like men work. He works entirely differently, and He has called us, those that the world does not even consider worthy of counting as existing. And it is like I told one Protestant, I said, “You know, that’s always the way it’s been with the Church of God. Every Sabbath there are millions of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and His grace and salvation by faith, who keep the Sabbath, and you don’t even have a clue as to where they are. You don’t even recognize who they are.” So callous are they in their beliefs that they are right, the Protestants even in the face of reading Rome’s Challenge to the Protestants, insist on keeping Sunday.Now let’s look at some other things which cover the Pentecost story, but in some of those things which take place after Pentecost. So it’s proper to go ahead and cover it here. Let’s understand something very important. Come to 1 Corinthians the first chapter please. God is doing a phenomenal thing with His people and His Church. And God never works like men work. He works entirely differently, and He has called us, those that the world does not even consider worthy of counting as existing. And it is like I told one Protestant, I said, “You know, that’s always the way it’s been with the Church of God. Every Sabbath there are millions of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and His grace and salvation by faith, who keep the Sabbath, and you don’t even have a clue as to where they are. You don’t even recognize who they are.” So callous are they in their beliefs that they are right, the Protestants even in the face of reading Rome’s Challenge to the Protestants, insist on keeping Sunday.

Now that’s an aside, but it does prove a point. And the point is that God has called us because to the world we are insignificant and foolish. Now let’s read it here, 1 Corinthians 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Of course God doesn’t have any foolishness, He has — well, let’s put it this way: even if God had foolishness and even if God had weakness then it would be greater than men or the best efforts of men. Verse 26: “For you see your calling, brethren, that there are not many who are wise according to the flesh, not many who are powerful, not many who are highborn among you. Rather, God has chosen the foolish things of the world so that He might put to shame those who are wise…” and the confounding of the wise will not be completed until after the resurrection. “…And God has chosen the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things.” And so you think about that. That’s why we have so many problems and difficulties that we go through, but God is with us. God is with us in all of it.

Verse 28: “And the low born of the world, and the despised has God chosen — even the things that are counted as nothing…” you know today, how many people in the world know that we are keeping the Sabbath here, or that we even exist — hardly any. He has done this to bring to nothing the things that are. So all of the rich, all of the powerful, all of the governments, all the great things of the world are going to be coming to nothing through us. So that’s why I said on Pentecost, we’ve been called to the greatest thing that there is! That’s why God does not want you to look at what you are, but God wants you to focus on what will be! Because that is the spiritual reality that is going to take place. Now here is the reason. Verse 29: “So that no flesh might boast in His presence.” No flesh should glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:25 –29).

Now God told the children of Israel the same thing. Let’s come to Deuteronomy 5 — because it shows that God works His mysterious way opposite according to the way that men think. Because He is doing something greater because it is His work that He is working in us. Not what we can do for God, but what we can do for God we need to do. Whatever He says that we need to do, or sets before us to do, we need to do it. But the question is what can God do for us? Or, let’s put it another way. What can you do without God? Nothing. Not even any man in the world can do anything without God—though he rejects Him because God created him and gave him everything that he has anyway. And in His mercy God sends the rain on the just and on the unjust, and the sunshine, and the food, and everything like this God gives to all human beings, and they only exist because of the will of God. Which means then, whatever they do, even though they sin contrary to the will of God, the only reason that they are not snuffed out instantly is because of God. So hence, they can do nothing without God.

I think it is interesting, but I heard a man talking about the solar system and the universe and the videos that they put out on that, who is an astronomer, and he said he didn’t know a single astronomer who did not believe in God. It is amazing isn’t it? It doesn’t mean that they obey Him, but they can understand this didn’t all spontaneously happen from nothing. You know like God told the environmentalist. He said, “Go create your own dirt before you start. Don’t use mine.” (Laughter).

Now here is what God said to the children of Israel. Let’s pick it up here in verse 22, and then we’ll go back and look at something there in Exodus in just a minute. Deuteronomy 5:22: “These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice:” and he ceased to talk…now that’s what it means. It doesn’t mean he added no more. A lot of people say, “Well God didn’t add any more.” He ceased to talk at that point, but as we will see He added a considerably lot more didn’t He? But the Ten Commandments, which He spoke, were the basis of everything that He gave them later on. “And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it came to pass, when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that you came near unto me, even, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God has showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God does talk with man, and he lives. Now therefore why should we die?” Now they didn’t want to hear the voice of God anymore. “…For this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die.” (Deuteronomy 5:22-25).

You know that’s the way people are today. This same kind of spirit is what is behind removing God from government, from public education, from media, and yes, from the new versions of the Bible also by perverting and twisting and destroying it.
Verse 26: “For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You go near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.” Verse 28: “And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spoke unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said.” They mean well. “…They have well said all that they have spoken.”

Here is the key. Verse 29: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:26-29).

Now God also said something over here in Chapter 7, just turn the page there. And why did God do this? Just like with us—why did God call us? Well, we have already seen it, so He explained it to them there. Deuteronomy 7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD your God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” Now you need to realize this: God the Father, Himself, has personally chosen you, and personally selected everyone one that He gives the Holy Spirit to. So we are special. Verse 7: “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people:” Verse 8: “But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers…” that is Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “…hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations…” then repays to the face those who hate Him—destroys them. So he says, “Thou shalt therefore…” verse 11, “keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” Then He shows the blessings and cursings that would follow. (Deuteronomy 7:6-11).

Now let’s tie this in with Pentecost, and let’s go forward from here. Let’s come to Exodus—we have already had a review of it there in Deuteronomy the fifth chapter. So let’s see what happened after God called Moses up on the mountain again.

Now when we understand—which I have done on other sermons, what was it, From the Red Sea to Sinai—coming up showing that it was when the law was given on the Day of Pentecost. Then these events took place after Pentecost—part of them, from the last part of Chapters 20, 21, 22 [and] 23, God gave all this information to Moses, and then he came back down. Since they assembled before the mount in the morning, they heard the voice of God through the cloud, through the trumpet, through the whirlwind, through all of the things that were going on and the mountain was literally burning and smoking. That’s why they were afraid. So then Moses went back up and he got this information.

Now beginning in Chapter 24 we see that another day takes place after Pentecost where then He seals the covenant. So let’s read this. Exodus 24:1: “And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.” So Moses came. Now verse 3, Moses comes down, “…Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD…” now I want you to pay attention to what happened on this part of Pentecost, and then let’s see what happened the next day because that will be significant when we come to the New Testament. “…Told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgements: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning…” now we are in the next day aren’t we—the day after Pentecost. “… and builded an altar under the hill…” that means right at the base of the hill not under the literal hill. “…And twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.” Verse 6: “And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.” (Exodus 24:1-7).

See now when God makes a covenant there are words of the covenant. That’s why when we take the Passover we entitle the words: The Words of the New Covenant, because the covenant is an irrevocable contract that God makes, and when there is a contract it is to be written so that there should not be any dispute. That’s what he did. And they said again, “All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant…” Now that ties right in with the new covenant Passover doesn’t it? Yes it does. See, when they had the Passover sacrifice in Egypt, that was the setting aside of them at the beginning of their calling to be setaside for God. God did not enter into covenant with them on Passover. God entered into covenant with them after Pentecost. And we’ll see there is a parallel between this and what will happen with us.

I’ll just telegraph a little bit of it here. Before we go about the business of running the world under Christ, we are going to enter into a special covenant with Christ. Because the New Covenant that we renew every Passover is for what—forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternal life. Now when you are resurrected and you receive eternal life, then there has to be a New Covenant made, because now you are in a different category, and this is a foretype of it here in Exodus 24. We’ll see that’s one of the things that have to take place.

OK let’s go on. Now then, verse 9: “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel…” not talked to face to face, but they saw Him. The reason God did this was so that they would know that it was God. They would come down and they would be witnesses to the people that—yes, it was God. Because remember, a little later on they forgot that it was God didn’t they—when they made the golden calf. So they had no excuse.

Now notice the next sentence here. “…and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” Now what is this? This is the thing that separated God and Aaron and Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders that went up to see God. So they could look up through this and they could see God. Now what is this describing, other than a sea of glass?

Verse 11: “And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” Now when they said, “I do” at this particular point, what kind of covenant was this? It was a marriage covenant. “…And they did eat and drink” now it doesn’t say what kind of food they had. It doesn’t say how they got it. It doesn’t tell us that they brought it up there. It doesn’t say they didn’t bring it up there. It doesn’t say that God provided it, and it doesn’t say that He didn’t provide it. So I’ll let you figure out what it is. Now it is very possible they took it up there. Verse 12: “And the LORD said to Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come once again…” so apparently Joshua went up so far, and then Moses went up beyond that. That’s the only thing we could figure out, because Joshua did not talk to God face to face. “…And, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.” So after they had eaten, apparently, they went on down—that is the elders and so forth. Verse 17: “And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” Now there are a lot of things that went on those forty days and forty nights. We are not going to go through that. (Exodus 24:1-18).

Let’s come and see the parallel that the apostle Paul writes about in Hebrews 12. There is a New Testament fulfillment of this. Hebrews 12, and let’s pick it up here in verse 18: “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart…” and that’s probably an arrow. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:).

Now here is what you need to understand how great that God is dealing with us, verse 22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24). So there is a spiritual parallel. That is quite a thing!

Now let’s talk about some things concerning this mount Sion, and we’ll talk about some things concerning the sea of glass. We’ll get to it in just a little bit, but first of all let’s cover something that’s very important.

The Bible shows there are three heavens: 1) the atmosphere around the earth, 2) the universe that you can look out and see, and 3) the third heaven where God’s throne is. Now no one can see the third heaven unless God makes it possible. Paul said that he was taken up into the third heaven whether in body or whether in spirit he didn’t know, and he heard things that it is not lawful for a man to speak. And we are going to see that John also had that privilege.

Now when I fly and go some place as I have said, I come from heaven. The plane I fly on goes either in the clouds or above the clouds, and when it lands I have just descended from heaven. Matter of fact when they fly at 33,000 to 37,000 feet, I think the highest I have flown on a plane was a crosscontinental flight, nonstop, and they went at 37,000 feet. Now that is higher than the birds fly, but it is still part of the first heaven, which is part of the earth. Question: Do people today travel in heaven? Yes—on airplanes and some few in rockets. Because we’re going to see a place here a little bit later on, that talks about the sound of much people in heaven—which one, where? How did they get there? Because as Peter said on Pentecost, “David has not ascended into heaven.” John wrote, as we covered last time, that only Jesus has ascended into heaven. No man has ascended into heaven, but Jesus. So we need to get some of these things a little clearer and defined, don’t we?

Now then, you can go back and you can do this, I’m not going to do it now, but you can go back and study about the cherubim in Ezekiel the first chapter and Ezekiel the tenth chapter. You can talk about the vision of Isaiah and seeing the throne of God in heaven above and so forth—so it is there. Now let’s see if we can put this all together.

Now let’s come to Revelation 12:9. So we’ll go here and then we will work backwards. And part of this dawned on me yesterday, as a matter of fact, last night. Let’s pick it up here in verse 9 so we come to the point where we see that these events begin. Now this is going to take place. Let’s pick it up here in verse 7: “And there was war in heaven…” now that’s going to happen again. “…Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels warred,” so the angels of Satan are fallen angels who are called demons. Verse 9: “And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil, and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world…” he is actively doing it “…he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.” (Revelation 12: 7-9).

Now we don’t know how much time there is left, so we don’t know how big the space station is going to get, do we? But they want to build a pretty enormous space station up there. And now apparently the Chinese are going to start getting into the act because they’re going to, some time this year, send their first man into space—thanks to the guidance system that so-and-so sold under Bill Clinton to the Chinese, so it would go.

Could it be that in this space station that Satan possesses the beast? He gets in a rocket and he goes up there and all the demons of Satan are there, and there is war right around that space station? And the beast possessed of Satan escapes and comes back to the earth? Now just consider I rang my cowbell—that is a little speculation. But nevertheless, one way or the other, Satan is going to be cast to the earth.

Now notice verse 10: “And I heard a great voice in heaven say, ‘Now has come salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accused them day and night before our God. But they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb, and through the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.” See because they knew, and we need to know and understand that God has called us to become part of the greatest thing that is ever going to happen to this earth since it was created! God hasn’t called you to save your neck from burning in everburning hell. God has called you for a great and fantastic purpose, as His sons and His daughters! And the first resurrection is going to be the greatest thing that will happen, and you and I and all those who have the Spirit of God, will be part of that! It is not going to be some secret rapture! When Christ returns, the world is going to know, and all of these people that think they are going to escape in a secret rapture before the tribulation, are deceived, and they are going to pay the price by going through it! (Revelation 12:10-11).

Now let’s read on, Revelation 12:12: “Therefore, rejoice you heavens, and those who dwell in them. Woe to those who inhabit the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has only a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had brought forth the man child. And two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman, so that she might fly to her place in the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Now there are going to be some who are going to be taken to a place of safety. But I do believe that many of those who thought they would save their necks because they read the article, There is a Way of Escape years ago, probably are no longer in fellowship with the Church of God. (Revelation 12:13-14).

Now why are there going to be some in a place of safety? Now just put in your notes there, Luke 17. Those who go to a place of safety, will be taken there by the angels. It is not a rapture because you’re not going to heaven. You may fly through the first heaven as the angels take whoever is going to go to a place of safety and will be there, but God is going to choose and select the ones to go. No man or woman is going to appoint himself [or herself, saying,] “I deserve to go.” The minute you say that, you are unworthy, because you are judging yourself rather than God. God is going to see who is going to be worthy or not. He is going to make the decision, and so that’s another reason why the church had to be destroyed, because there were too many people there with their Petra boxes thinking that they were going to save their physical necks. Now the ultimate reason why there are some who go to the place of safety, comes down to a very simple thing. Now we will cover that in just a minute.

Now from here, we are going to back up, after we finish this chapter. Let’s go through it. So “…the serpent cast water out of his mouth as a river, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Now look, can God protect you if He wants to? Yes, indeed! What can He even do? Well, He’ll even open up the earth and consume all the water! Now verse 17: “And the dragon was furious with the woman and went to make war with the rest of her seed…” and these are the ones who do not go to a place of safety. Now the remnant here should rightly be translated the others not meaning just a small few left behind—the others. Now notice, “…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” These people have been chosen to be martyrs. God is the one who makes the decision, but He will strengthen you with whatever strength you need if you are chosen to be a martyr! Because if you love God with all of your heart, mind and soul and being, and you have already forsaken your own life and your own way and buried it in Christ, then when it comes time that you—whoever you may be—that you must be a martyr; then God will give you the strength. He will give you a mouth to speak. You will say the Words of God, and you will not be afraid of anything that anyone can do to you because they can’t take away eternal life. Even killing the body is not going to stop the plan of God.

Now let’s come back here to Revelation 6 just a few pages back. I am not going to repeat what I already covered on Pentecost. Revelation 6 and let’s come here to verse 9, which is the fifth seal. And I am going to give here very soon a sermon on the mark of the beast. Like I said when I gave the sermon, The Mark of the Beast—It is Here Already and I said it’s going to become so natural and such a regular thing that when it comes time to receive it, people are going to say, “ Yea, give it to me.” except those who have the Spirit of God, and those who don’t will be martyred. You can tie that in with Revelation 13. If you don’t bow down to the image of the beast and you don’t receive the mark of the beast, you’re history as far as the world is concerned, but you are preserved in Christ. Remember He said if you lose your life, you are going to preserve it.

Now Revelation 6:9: “And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony that they held:” you tie that in with Revelation 12:11 how they got there—they didn’t love their lives unto death. “And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ And white robes were given to them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest a short time yet…” showing that they are in the grave actually though this is symbolically speaking here “…until it be fulfilled that both their fellow servants and their brethren also would be killed, just as they had been.” Now when this takes place, remember, Satan makes war against the remnant of her seed, so this takes place just right after the second seal, the third seal, the fourth seal, the fifth seal comes real quickly—bam, bam, bam, bam, bam! So the martyrdom goes on for just a little less than two years. And I am sure; I’m convinced that God will allow Satan to think that he has destroyed the Church by killing all of those who are the saints of God. So there will come a time, as I said on Pentecost, this ends the Church harvest—martyrdom of the saints.

Now how does that tie in with the place of safety? That’s so Jesus can keep His Word. Now let’s come to Matthew 16. We’ll come back to Revelation here in just a minute. What is another reason why they go to a place of safety? Because Jesus made a promise—not just a place of safety—He made another promise that also applies to those who go to a place of safety. Let’s pick it up here in verse 16, after He asked them, “Whom do men say I am?” “Then Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Verse 17: “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you Simon, Barjona:’ ” that is the son of Jona “…for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father which is in heaven.” A very key, important thing, anything you understand out of the Bible, God reveals it to you, right? Yes. “…I say also to you that you are Peter…” you know the whole thing—Petros, “…but upon this Rock” Petra “I will build My church,” Now here is the promise “…and the gates of hell” or that is the mouth of the grave “…shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18). Now to fulfill that promise, there are those who go to a place of safety, because all of the rest that Satan makes war against are going to be killed. And if He didn’t put some in a place of safety to preserve their physical life, the church would have died out, would it not? So that’s another reason why there is a place of safety.

There have to be some remnant alive in the flesh, not counting the 144,000, great innumerable multitude, you see, but Christ made the promise here that the gates of hell would never prevail against it, therefore, it would never die out! And that is the whole premise of the Mormon Church—it died out, therefore it had to be revealed to Joseph Smith.

Now let’s come back here to the Book of Revelation, Chapter 6. Now I’m not going to repeat everything that I did on Pentecost, I’ll just refer you to the tape. Now then, let’s pick it up here in verse 12, and let’s understand that if we put the Scriptures properly together concerning the time frame, we know that in Revelation 12 we have “time, times, and a half a time” which we understand to be three and a half years. So we know that the time at the end is three and a half years. That’s referred to as the great tribulation. It is referred to as the day of the Lord—the whole period. We also know that if we have put Hosea 5:21 and 6:1-3 together, that out of the great tribulation there is the tribulation against Israel, which ends in two years. It says that He’ll raise them up in the third year. So this means that as we are looking at the three and a half year period if there are two years that are gone, there is roughly a year and a half left, correct?

Now then let’s begin in verse 12, and I believe that this takes place right at the end of two years into the tribulation, and this is going to be the great event that is going to take place. It is going to be an awesome thing indeed! The whole world is going to know it! The return of Jesus Christ is going to be a spectacular event, which will be witnessed, the coming of it, for a year and a half! Every eye is going to see Him. Everyone is going to know that something spectacular is happening. So let’s begin right here in verse 12 of Revelation 6:12 “ And when He opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as the hair of sackcloth, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its untimely figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.”

Now here is the event that is going to startle the world! Verse 14: “Then the heaven departed like a scroll that is being rolled up;” that is going to absolutely shock the world! And we just might understand what a fantastic thing this is—it affects the whole earth! “… And every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the powerful men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne…” that’s God the Father “… and from the wrath of the Lamb: Because the great day of his wrath is come; and who has the power to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17). Now that’s the ultimate end result of it.

But what’s going to happen when the heavens depart as a scroll? Wouldn’t you say that the heavens departing as a scroll is a new thing in the heavens as people observe it? Have to be—yes, a brand new thing.

Now let’s come back to Matthew 24. Now remember there in the Book of Haggai—while we’re turning to Matthew 24—God says He is going to shake the heavens. He is going to shake the earth. He is going to shake the sea. We find in the Book of Isaiah that the earth is going to reel like a drunken man. Now here is what is going to be, when they say, “Here is Christ, there is Christ, don’t believe it.” Here is how He is going to come. Verse 27: “For as the light of day…” as I have said many times, is the light of day “…which comes forth from the east and shines as far as the west, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.” So when the heavens depart as a scroll, something brand new is going to happen, bam! The whole sky, the whole universe, and everything is going to be instantly changed, and once they recover from the shock of it, they’re going to look up there and they are going to see, here is a brand new sun we never knew existed out there. And the reason that it looks like it shines from east to west is because the earth is still turning on its axis and however far out this sign is, the sign of the Son of man like a new sun, it’s going to be out there. Now remember, this takes place at the end of two years in the tribulation. Now what is the world going to be convinced that this is? They won’t know at first. They’ll look at it, they’ll watch it, they’ll observe it, but what will they conclude? This is the invasion from outer space that we have been expecting. That’s what they will conclude. And the aliens are coming to invade the earth. That will be their ultimate conclusion of it. So that’s going to be a spectacular event.

Now let’s come back to Revelation 7 and then we’ll also do a little more overview. Revelation 7, we already covered about the 144,000 and great innumerable multitude. So you see what happens when that sign of the Son of man appears—the heavens depart as a scroll, then God intervenes to do His fiftiethday work, as we have seen in the 144,000 of the children of Israel; which we have already seen are different than the 144,000 of Revelation 14, and the great innumerable multitude. Which means then, not everyone is going to start fighting Christ or think that it is an invasion from outer space; they are going to repent! Because you see, no one receives salvation without repentance, so 144,000 repent, God sends the Holy Spirit to them, the great innumerable multitude repent, God sends the Holy Spirit to them, because it is His independent work in saving all of these people. These will be the harvest of Pentecost, from one Pentecost to the next Pentecost within that eighteenmonth period. This fulfills the prophecy of the laborers that went to work in the vineyard—some started at the first hour in the morning and some came the eleventh hour of the day and worked just a little bit and when they got paid, they all received the same amount which is symbolic of eternal life. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Now also we need to plug in here, that also during this timeframe there are two witnesses in Jerusalem aren’t there—having a very powerful witness, and just before the resurrection, they are martyred. So God is going to give Himself a fantastic witness! God is not going to have anyone say, “Oh! You came to the earth? When did You come to the earth?” (Laughter). The whole world is going to know it!

Now then, let’s show that they meet Christ on the sea of glass. Now we need to talk about the sea of glass, so we need to go to Revelation 14 and 15, and then we need to work our way back and we’ll see some very important things. Remember what we covered there in Exodus 24, that after Pentecost they went up and they had that meal in the presence of God. They saw God standing on a little portable sea of glass so they could look up and see God. Now some people think the sea of glass is just kind of a symbolic thing! Well that shows that they neither understand what God is doing, nor do they understand the magnitude of what God is going to perform!

Now let’s ask the questions: Today, why do we come to Sabbath services? Why do we study the Bible? Because we are preparing for eternal life, correct? God has His Work in it; Christ has His Work in it; we have our work in it, but it is something for a preparation correct? Yes! What we will do, we will show the silliness, what we used to believe, that the resurrection would be on the Feast of Trumpets—we’d all be resurrected, meet Christ in the air and come right back to the earth. Well since, if you are resurrected, we’re going to see that a lot of things need to happen before you’re ready to come back to the earth. And that’s why the resurrection is on Pentecost, because it pictures the first fruits, and it’s called the church of the firstborn, and there are a lot of things that have to be done before we come back with Christ to the earth! Now since you have never experienced being a spirit being, you’re going to have to learn how you operate, right? Of course!

Now let’s look at the resurrection. Hold your place here, we got ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to Matthew 24, and let’s look at the resurrection. If we did not go to the sea of glass, why then take us up into the air at the resurrection? What would be the purpose of that? Why not just stay on earth and let Christ come all the way to the earth? No one has ever asked that question before. Verse 29: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:” and He gets closer, and closer, and closer to the earth, as we will see. “…Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” They are going to see this. Now notice first of all verse 27, it starts out like a new sun appearing in the heavens, by the time it comes time for the resurrection, where does this sign come to—the clouds. Where are the clouds? Well, the clouds are not in the second heaven, because there aren’t any out in the universe are there? No. The clouds are not in the third heaven, necessarily, but where are the clouds—the first heaven. So it comes down into the clouds.

Now what happens when you have something coming from outer space that comes to the earth? What does the magnetic force do? When it comes just so far to the earth—it locks it into a stationary orbit. We have many satellites, don’t we, that they lock into stationary orbit—it’s going around the earth this way while the earth is turning this way. They have satellites that are designed to go the exact speed of the rotation of the earth so it sits in the same spot all the time, don’t they?

Now then, I believe that when it comes down into the clouds, and it doesn’t tell us how high that is—clouds range anywhere from earth level as fog up to 50,000 feet, so you pick your altitude if you want to put it that way. But they are going to see this, so it comes down and stations itself right over Jerusalem. Now what’s the first thing to happen when it stations itself right over Jerusalem—Revelation 11, the two witnesses are the first resurrected. The last shall be first. Where did they die? They died in Jerusalem. You read Revelation 11, and a voice came and said, “Come here” and they stood on their feet and lived, and so apparently some angels, which they didn’t see, got them and carried them up to the sea of glass. Let’s ask the question: If you ascend into the clouds to meet Christ—you’ve got to meet Him some place don’t you? Yes.

Now then, I believe that when it comes down into the clouds, and it doesn’t tell us how high that is—clouds range anywhere from earth level as fog up to 50,000 feet, so you pick your altitude if you want to put it that way. But they are going to see this, so it comes down and stations itself right over Jerusalem. Now what’s the first thing to happen when it stations itself right over Jerusalem—Revelation 11, the two witnesses are the first resurrected. The last shall be first. Where did they die? They died in Jerusalem. You read Revelation 11, and a voice came and said, “Come here” and they stood on their feet and lived, and so apparently some angels, which they didn’t see, got them and carried them up to the sea of glass. Let’s ask the question: If you ascend into the clouds to meet Christ—you’ve got to meet Him some place don’t you? Yes.

Now let’s ask another question: Will the people of the earth see the resurrection take place and these people being raised out of the grave and the angels taking them up to meet Christ? That’s possible. Did they see the two witnesses go up? Yes! Revelation 11, they stood and watched them go up! Now wouldn’t that be a phenomenal thing—see all the saints resurrected, what a witness to this whole world, huh? You know this is not going to be some secret rapture done in a corner someplace, this is an earthshaking event!

Will they know that this is God doing it? Well, Satan is still on the earth and he is going to say, “It’s the antichrist who is doing it, and what is happening, what you are seeing is the aliens from outer space have come and they are taking all of the aliens that were living among us.” Have you seen a movie to that effect? It’s like my wife has said many times—Satan telegraphs what he is going to do in the movies that he produces for people to watch today. Since this is an invasion from outer space, now then, look at how many aliens were among us. And of course, what are we called, but strangers and sojourners in the earth. Amazing stuff isn’t, huh? We can use our imagination this way and ask God to lead us with His Spirit. If this isn’t correct, we’ll change. But it’s got to happen some way. It’s got to happen somehow, and if we can discern from the Scriptures from what we are told how it’s going to happen, then that’s fine.

Now let’s understand something concerning this. This information is interesting. Hopefully, it’s inspiring. Hopefully, it is true to the Word of God. However, understand this, it is not salvational. In other words, if we understand this today because we live in the time we live in, and know that these things can happen, and we have all of the Word of God and we can put it together—does that mean that those who came before us who knew nothing of it will not be saved? No. That’s why it’s not salvational. You understand the difference there? OK.

Now let’s come to 1 Thessalonians 4 and here it talks about the resurrection again. Now if I have to finish it next time, I’ll finish it next time, but I think if we can put it together and really understand it, brethren, this will inspire us so much more, and give us strength of faith, conviction of heart, and trust in God to know that what He is going to do with us is going to be a great and a marvelous, and a fantastic thing, you see. And when we are resurrected and our bodies are changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, all the things and aches and pains and sickness and disease and death and all of the wretchedness of human life is over.

Now let’s pick it up here in 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep…” that is; they died in Christ, “…that you be not grieved, even as others, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” Since they are buried and in the ground and must be resurrected, how is He going to bring them with Him unless they go to meet Him? It won’t happen, will it? Because no man has ascended to heaven, correct? Yes. So let’s go on. Verse 15: “For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord …” which now we understand are going to be those in the place of safety, and we also understand it will be the 144,000, great innumerable multitude, “…shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep. Because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;” of course, the two witnesses will be the first of the first. Verse 17: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds…” where is Christ coming to—to the clouds. “…for the meeting with the Lord in the air;…” Now I translated it this way: for the meeting with the Lord in the air. “…So shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Now let’s look and see how this is going to happen. Let’s first of all look at the sea of glass in Revelation 4 and 5. Now, let’s understand something—just because there is the first heaven, which is the atmosphere around the earth; and the second heaven, which includes all of the universe, all the stars and galaxies and everything out there; and we know about the third heaven—does not mean that the third heaven is further removed than the second heaven. Just in a numerical way of doing things, we would think that. So Christ does not have to come from the outer reaches of the universe, does He? How close is the throne of God, which sits on the sea of glass, to the earth? Can anybody tell us? No, we don’t know.

Hold your place here in Revelation 4, and let’s come to Acts 7, because we have an indication that it may be a whole lot closer than we have imagined, but we just can’t see it yet! Acts 7, this is with the stoning of Stephen, right toward the end of the chapter there. Let’s pick it up here in verse 54: “And when they heard these things…” that is the Sanhedrin, all the Jewish leaders, “…they were cut to their hearts, and they gnashed their teeth at him…” I thought at one time that they went out and bit him, but it doesn’t mean that. It means they gnashed their teeth at him—sat there and ground their teeth at him, they were so angry. Have you ever seen someone so angry that their jaws were biting. That’s what it means. Verse 55: “But he, being filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.’ ” That did it! Now, does this tell us that the throne of God is closer to the earth than we have imagined? Let’s look at it this way: Jesus sits in the throne of God doesn’t He? He said that in Revelation 3:21 “…set down with my Father in His throne.” Hebrews 4, He is at the right hand of God, isn’t He? He is our High Priest to make intercession for us. (Acts 7:54-56).

Here we have… He is not sitting; He is standing. So what is Jesus doing? He is looking down to see what’s going on. Now how far away do you suppose that is? Close enough that He can stand and look down and see what’s going on. He wanted to see what the Jews would do. He wanted to see what Stephen was going to do. And notice he had the same attitude that Christ had. Verse 59: “And they stoned Stephen, who called upon God, saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge. And after he had said this, he died.” Showing he died. So just by the way that this is written and what was seen and how it was done, does this tell us that the throne of God is closer to the earth than we have imagined? I do not know. He did not see God; he saw the glory of God. He didn’t see God, but he saw the Son of man standing at His right hand.

Now let’s come to Revelation 4 and let’s begin right here in verse 1, and let’s see some things concerning the sea of glass. Revelation 4:1: “After these things I looked, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard was as if a trumpet were speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you the things that must take place after these things. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one was sitting on the throne. And He Who was sitting was in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardius stone; and a rainbow was around the throne, like an emerald in its appearance. And round about the throne were twentyfour…” as it should read “…thrones…” smaller thrones “… twentyfour elders sitting, clothed in white garments;…” Now the question has been asked: Who are the twentyfour elders? We don’t know. We do know that God has twentyfour elders, because He tells us that. Apparently they are special created beings that help assist God in running the universe. I said, apparently, that’s the best we can do with that. Other than that we don’t know, but one of these day we are going to find out, and we’ll know of sure. And they were, “…clothed in white garments; and they had on their heads golden crowns. And proceeding from the throne were lightnings and thunders and voices…” this is the center of the power of the universe, if we can put it this way—amazing thing isn’t it? “…And seven lamps of fire, which are the seven Spirits of God, were burning before the throne.” Now we will see what the seven Spirits of God do a little bit later here. Verse 6: “And before the throne was a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne and over the throne were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature was like a calf, and the third living creature had the face of a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. And each of the four living creatures had six wings respectively; and around and within they were full of eyes; and day and night they cease not saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Now this is quite a scene.

Now so far, who have we identified on the sea of glass: God the Father, Jesus Christ, twentyfour elders, and the four living creatures. That’s it. When John saw this, no one was resurrected, correct? We haven’t come to the time of the resurrection. So here we have the sea of glass with the throne of God, and we’ll see a little later there are a great innumerable multitude of angels that are with it, but no saints yet. Why? Well, the resurrection of the dead hasn’t taken place. So this is going to be a phenomenal thing.

Now let’s finish off Chapter 4, and this will end it for us today, because this is a natural place to break here. Verse 9: “And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him Who sits on the throne, Who lives into the ages of eternity, The twentyfour elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne; and they worship Him Who lives into the ages of eternity, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power because You did create all things, and for Your will they were created and exist (Revelation 4: 1-11). So God is going to fulfill His purpose.

So the only thing we can conclude is that the throne of God and the sea of glass are probably closer to the earth than we have imagined, and if it’s out there a little further at the present time; it’s going to come closer. We’ll see that next time, and maybe we can answer the question of the mystery of the sea of glass.

(End of Sermon)

Transcriber: Judith Anderson

Events After Pentecost—Sermon I
June 21, 2003
Scriptural References

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:25-29
  2. Deuteronomy 5:22-29
  3. Deuteronomy 7:6-11
  4. Exodus 24:1-18
  5. Hebrews 12:18-24
  6. Revelation 12:7-17
  7. Revelation 6:9-11
  8. Matthew 16:16-18
  9. Revelation 6:12-17
  10. Matthew 24:27
  11. Matthew 24:29-31
  12. I Thessalonians 4:13-18
  13. Acts 7:54-56, 59-60
  14. Revelation 4:1-11