The "Unlocking Revelation"
Do you have a question about our lecture topics? If so, you may e-mail me by clicking this link: email@example.com Or simply write the question on a notecard you can pick up at the table in the foyer, and give it to me afterward. My thanks to researcher and former pastor Dick Hammen for his invaluable help. -- Pastor Maylan Schurch
(The following space is reserved for your questions--plus the best Bible answers we can provide! Check back every couple of days!)
QUESTION 1: One of the texts on 10/21 (Friday) stated that the dead are now going through the judgment. Do we know if the dead rise to be judged, or are they not present?
ANSWER: As we read the book of Revelation and Daniel, it seems to us that the judgment is going on in heaven while people are here on earth. In fact, Revelation 14:7 says, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
In this text, people are warned to worship God because the judgment has begun. These people are living on earth, but God's judgment is going on in heaven.
in the middle of Daniel's vision of four great beasts (Daniel 7), the Bible breaks up Daniel's view of things on earth with glimpses of the heaven. For God's people, the worst part of this vision for them is not the judgment, but the actions of the fourth of these beasts.
But while the fourth beast and the little horn are doing their “dirty work” on earth (verses 7 and 8), the vision suddenly switches to a heavenly scene:
Daniel 7:9: "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened."
So again, it seems as though during earth’s last days, even while the final beast and its little horn are in action, judgment is happening in heaven.
Now, watch what happens at the end of time.
Verses 21 – 22: “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”
So it seems that the actual judging happens first, then the Lord returns and pronounces the verdict. And according to Revelation 19, these verdicts will be so righteous and fair that they will receive overwhelming approval:
Revelation 19:1 – 2: After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
Revelation 20 says there will come a time when the judgment is announced to those who will not inherit eternal life. Again, this could be called an “executive” judgment rather than an “investigative” one (see answer to Question 3, below), which happened earlier, as we’ve described. It's a sad scene.
Revelation 20:11 – 15: Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Let's pray we will be found in the Book of Life.
QUESTION 2: Why was it significant that 1844 had to be identified in prophecy?
ANSWER: If God holds a judgment before Christ's coming, there’s good Bible precedence that He would let us know about it. Amos 3:7 reminds us, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” After all, God allowed Noah 120 years to give his message of warning before the flood. Jesus’ arrival as Messiah was well-predicted in Scripture. We shouldn’t be surprised if this same heavenly caring also pinpointed the era when earth’s final events are about to be wrapped up.
The Day of Atonement was the most serious day of the year for Jewish people. The 2,300 day prophecy of Dan. 8:14 marks the beginning of what can be called the antitypical Day of Atonement. The Old Testament Day of Atonement pointed forward to this judgment that would take place before Christ's second coming.
Advent preachers preached this 2,300 day prophecy in the 1830s and early 40s, assuming that it referred to the Second Coming. This led to a bitter disappoint for them. But as some studied this issue again, they realized that the cleansing of the sanctuary wasn't God's destruction of this earth, but His concluding work of the atonement, to make heaven and earth united again, the time spoken of by Paul in Ephesians 1:10: "to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."
We're still waiting for that day, but the 2,300 days lets us know that we are living in the "time of the end." As we study the great lines of prophecy, it seems that the only prophecy that still needs fulfilling is is for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth.
QUESTION 3: According to the book of Daniel, judgment is happening right now. But Revelation 20 talks about judgment happening after Christ’s Second Coming (Rev. 20:11 -15). How is this judgment different?
ANSWER: As we study the Bible, we need to be very careful to include all the evidence. The three angels of Revelation 14 deliver their message before the Second Coming of Jesus (mentioned later in that same chapter), and while they are flying—in other words, while the message is still going out—the first angel clearly states that judgment hour has come (not “will come” but “has come”).
If this is the case, the judgment process has started, and we need to hold onto that thought as we look at the “Great White Throne” judgment of Revelation 20. This judgment could be called the “executive judgment,” while the one announced by the Revelation 14 first angel could be called an “investigative judgment.” You see, the judgment in heaven isn’t for “show.” It is truly an investigation. God has been condemned. He must show the onlooking angels, and whoever else in the universe might be looking on, that His judgments are just and true.
QUESTION 4: Danel 8:14 – “then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” What is the cleansing of the sanctuary. Please explain.
ANSWER: Here’s a link which provides a Bible-based, step-by-step study on this fascination topic:
QUESTION 5: Is there any scriptural basis that would give any Christian church the right to change any of the Ten Commandments?
ANSWER: From the rest of what was written on the question-asker's note card, I gather that this was a rather rhetorical question, since this person went on to mention an instance of this actually happening in another congregation.
The answer, of course, is "no." On the contrary, Jesus says in Matthew 4:4 that “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” He was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. If any words could be said to have proceeded from the mouth of God, it would be the Ten Commandments, since Exodus 20 begins with the statement, “God spoke all these words.” And Psalm 111:8 indicates how permanent God’s commandments are: “ . . . All His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness. “
QUESTION 6: On the thousand years of the millennium—wouldn’t this be a “prophetic” thousand years (a total of 365,000 literal years)? If it isn’t, how do we know this—since this stated time period is included in a prophetic section of Scripture?
ANSWER: This is a very good and thoughtful question. The first, and perhaps best, way to answer it is to mention that all the rest of the Bible's prophetic times are listed in days, and – as the Messianic prophecy of Daniel 9 conclusively proves – a day stands for a year in prophetic time. However, there is no clear instance of prophetic time being initially stated as "years," either in Daniel or Revelation. The only exception to this might be Revelation 9:15, but that mentions only one year.
The "year" in Rev. 9:15 in with a second reason why Revelation 20’s 1000 years are most likely literal. All other Bible time prophecies, both in Daniel and in Revelation, are relatively reasonable time-lengths. The 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 adds up to 490 years. The sanctuary prophecy in Daniel 8:14 adds up to 2300 days, which equals 2300 years. To suddenly introduce a prophecy with the incredibly lengthy time period of the third of a million years seems quite incongruous. That's why the great majority of Bible scholars, no matter their opinion of what happens during the millennium, agree that those years are literal.