REVELATION…WHY THE MYSTERY? – By Mike Taylor – www.raptureready.com
I was in services this last weekend and was called on to speak to our little congregation. All was going well as scripture after scripture spoke of the love and saving power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leading to our modern era and the end times we face. I had the full attention of everyone there and heads were nodding in agreement. That is until I got to a passage in Revelation dealing with the 24 elders. Like many people in the church I attend, they have believed that Revelation is beyond their comprehension. They steer clear of it, as being too masked in mystery to be any use to the trials everyday Christians have to face. They believe it is too divisive and we, as Christians should stay away from even discussing what will be coming upon the earth in the near future….
Please understand that our only hope is in the salvation of Jesus Christ and when our Lord spoke to John the Apostle, he was using language to give us knowledge of the end of all things. It is being revealed what symbols mean as God chooses to reveal it to each of us when the timing is appropriate. In times past, people didn’t understand the symbols surrounding the many passages filled with end time prophecy. But we are now facing the fulfillment of these prophecies and the pieces of the puzzle being put into place right before our very eyes. I had one member speak in awe of the news headlines that point to a coming one world government that could be in place in the very near future, based on an economic crisis worldwide. It is forewarned in Revelation.
I have warned everyone that I come in contact with, either in services, in sermons, lessons, and bible studies that we must be watchful and not putting our heads in the sands and avoiding the powerful words that Jesus wrote down through the Beloved Apostle, John.
Some are fearful and a person without Jesus Christ as their hope, has every right to be fearful. These Christians fret that they may not have the faith to endure the persecution and the gloomy time that is called the “Day of the Lord”. Jesus said in Luke 21:25-28:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
v26Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
v27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
v:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
But these are people who profess a love and confidence in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ, but worry about what is coming upon the earth, just as non-Christians do. Why is that? We know from Matthew 24 starting in verse 15,
Jesus gives a warning of when the abomination that causes desolation appears that people witnessing that event should flee into the mountains, but was He talking to Israel or to all the inhabitants of the earth?, Some erroneously, think that Jesus is speaking to the whole of Christianity, not just the Jewish people. Let’s not even think of the logistics of such a flight from persecution to a place called Petra , as one minister envisioned in times past. I think for a moment we need to look at a minister of the past, I speak of, who has led a group of people to believe that we will go through all of the tribulation, in which I believe, is in error.
There was a man who started a new denomination that was called the Radio Church of God. His name was Herbert W. Armstrong. He looked at the Bible in a different light than most of the ministers in his day. He saw where in the Old Testament that God gave His Laws, His commandments, and His appointed Holy Days, which included the 7th Day Sabbath. We all know this man’s history, legacy, and his eventual downfall from a large membership to a fragmented groups scattered far and wide across the nation. You can do a google search to find all the problems this organization experienced from the rise of many converts, to a fragmented denomination. Why did the organization fail? I believe the answer is pride, plain and simple. Human pride and self indulgence is one of the classic reasons why a church movement dissolves when it fails to give God the glory, or follows it’s own teaching, that Jesus called the “traditions of men”. The man started out with a fire that rivaled my boyhood hero, Billy Graham, for preaching the gospel. He had a following that was worldwide and created a movement that lasted 50 years, until pride entered his heart and he looked at himself to be more than what he was, a servant of Jesus Christ. He called himself an “apostle”. He made predictions of prophecy that failed to come to pass. Some slogans were known as “Flee in 73” (meaning in 1973) or “Place of Safety” (meaning Petra, in the nation of Jordan in the middle east) and the world was to be thrown into the tribulation and Jesus would appear after all of Revelation’s plagues and bowl judgments had been poured out. God said concerning a false prophet in Deuteronomy 18: verse 22:
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” In my understanding, we should not listen to such a false prophet or heed his prophecy. It shows God was NOT speaking.
Some people revere this man, even today as an example to follow. I beg to differ, as the only example that any Christian should follow is the one set by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is our example, He is our model. Now in HWA defense, the man was not all bad in what he preached. He had a lot of Bible knowledge. Some profess that we should follow the traditions of the church he formed, called the Worldwide Church of God. But instead of following the traditions of men, should we not follow the whole counsel of the Word of God, instead of an organization? Now I believe that the Sabbath and the Holy Days were ordained by God in Leviticus 23 starting in verse 2:
v2 Speak unto the children of Israel , and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
v3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
v4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
These still apply, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Do we understand what a jot or tittle is in verse 18? It’s the smallest part of the Hebrew language, meaning not a crossing of a “T” or a dotting of an “I” will be changed till all things be fulfilled. Last I checked, the sky was above me and the earth was below my feet.
I’m so glad that ministers, such as Jack Kelley realize their significance to research the full meaning of what these commands, called “MY” feast, mean to every Christian who follows the whole counsel of the Word of God. I call them, God’s plan for man. Not an original title made by me, but applies to what God is using during these last days as communion with God. I like to refer to them as revival camp meetings. Some folks think they are Jewish festivals and God gave them to the Jews only, but as noted in Leviticus 23, they were given to mankind, starting with Israel as a perpetual event for all time…forever.
But it’s not a salvation issue, but a blessing, if God reveals to you that He wishes to be worshiped in this way. It’s a personal choice with conviction and one not taken lightly by anyone who does. But following a personal conviction leads up to a persistent question that keeps coming up, does it say anywhere in the Bible that keeping of these ordinances and Laws given by God Almighty save anyone?
I had a lovely lady in our group that mentioned that a lot of the world does not keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days, so how can they be in the first resurrection? I had to ask her a question in brotherly love, because I have to deal with that mentality whenever is brought to my attention. I asked her a simple question. Can the practice of keeping God’s 7th day Sabbath, and observing God’s appointed Feast found in Leviticus, save you? Obviously, on thinking about it, she already knew the answer. I prefaced my question by saying that I do not diminish God’s law and His commands by no means, as they are a blessing to whoever God leads to believe they are for modern day Christians, but can they save you?
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
v9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
No, my brethren, God’s law was given to Israel and to us because of transgressions and the Israelites captivity of bondage in Egypt. They had forgotten the God of their fathers, due to 400 years of slavery. So God brought them out and gave them a standard to live by which pointed them to the cross. But as time went by, Israel transgressed God’s Law and followed other gods. Many times God disciplined them, until he finally divorced them in Jeremiah and sent the people into captivity. First the northern 10 tribes, then the southern half of ancient Israel, called Judah and sent them into Babylon . The 10 tribes were scattered and were lost into other nations who absorbed them. When the Jews, since that was what they were called because of being of the tribe of Judah, were allowed to come to their homeland and rebuild their temple, in the course of time they devised a plan and a set of rules, called oral traditions, where they would be able to follow the Law of God perfectly. They had a rule for everything. They had a rule for what you could do and not do on the weekly Sabbath, what you could do during the week, rules for family life, for married life, and about as many rules that could think of that gave them confidence that they could keep the Law of God perfectly and never go into slavery again. They didn’t need a Savior, they could save themselves.
Oh, Really? Only one problem, man can’t keep the God’s law perfectly, no matter how many rules and traditions they made up to prevent it’s transgression. When Jesus started His ministry, He took every chance He got to preach against their traditions of keeping the Law. Turn with me to: Mark chapter 7, starting in verse 6
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Yet, Jesus kept the Law of God perfectly. In Him was no sin, as the Law defined the nature of sin. He kept the Sabbath, as was His custom. He kept the appointed Feasts to the Lord God, as was commanded in the Old Testament, and referring back to the scripture we read in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, He came to explain the full meaning and its spiritual application of following the Law handed down by God Almighty. But He came, because man could not keep the Law perfectly, as He did. So He gave Himself to die on a cruel instrument of Roman torture. He shed His blood and allowed beating of His flesh to free us from the penalty of not being able to keep the law perfectly. Did He do away with following God’s commands? He did not! According to scripture God says in Malachi 3:6:
3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; and again in Hebrews 13:8:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Meaning God does not change His mind or do away with any part of His Word.
BUT, people like Mr. Armstrong applied keeping God’s Law to an extreme, just as the Pharisees did in Jesus’ time. To a lot of the people who attended this now scattered denomination called the Church of God, it was a release from bondage, as they were told what they could do and what they could not do. They lost the freedom in Jesus Christ they had by following the simple teachings of God the Father, expressed more fully by our Savior while here on earth. James put it simply in his book, starting in Chapter 2 starting in verse 17:
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
I explained it to one of my friends that it’s like a set of scales symbolizing your life. On one side, if you have faith in Jesus Christ and made a commitment to him and asked Him to come into your heart, you put that on one side of the scale….faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely required for salvation and justification. You must believe on Him and accept Him into your heart and life. But look at the other side. It’s not balanced. So it is with your life. If you accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior, are you not to do something with it? What is James, the brother of Jesus talking about? I believe that every person that accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and shares that experience with others will fill up that other side of the scales. Some call it works, but I call it the manifestation that Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit is in your life. Further, God calls it sanctification or being made into the image of His only Son, Jesus Christ. If you are truly His and only you and the Lord knows for sure, you can’t help but produce fruit, or works. It’s a byproduct of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We all know the parable of the talents. Where each was given talents to use until the master returned. Each increased their portion except the one servant who had only one. He hid it in the ground. I ask you, what is the most precious thing that God owns and gives us? His Word! If we hide in the ground, how can we give an increase? We can’t and God will hold us accountable. If you have an increase, that is fruit, works, and a byproduct of accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
I say all of this to get back to the central point. Each of us, as Christians are looking for the blessed hope that is Jesus Christ our Lord. We live our lives according to what the Word of God speaks to us. It must start with 2 simple verses that pointed me to the cross when I was a 10 year old boy brought up in the Baptist Church . It’s John 3:16-17:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved.”
It’s the mini version for the whole message of the Bible. When each of us were called by the Holy Spirit and made that decision to follow in His footsteps, we had to then look to our handbook, our Bibles, the Word of God. Jesus said, “he that teaches others to break these commandments will be called least in the Kingdom of God . “ It sounds like we will be there but it’s speaking of the degree of reward. Keeping God’s Word, all of it and teaching others to do so, provides rewards for the believer.
We must take it all in, research it, study it, memorize it, and internalize it. It has to become part of us. Jesus said for each of us to watch and pray in Revelation 3:10:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
He commanded that we take the whole counsel of the Word of God, not just the parts we like. He instructed us on how to live our lives according to His will. Likewise, He gave us lesson after lesson in His Word of being protected from His coming wrath…. How many scriptures do we need to understand that He will remove His people out of the way before the coming Day of the Lord? Many examples are provided in your Bible, such as Lot leaving Sodom before God’s wrath, Noah entering the ark before the wrath of the flood, the Israelites being protected from the death angel with blood on the door posts. Folks, that is our guarantee, if you will. His promise, and God cannot lie…I will provide you with scriptures that further prove the point and there are many, but here are just a few selections:
26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. It speaks of our being removed after being resurrected or changed and being protected from His coming wrath.
John 14:2: 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. We will be going to where He is and He’s not here on earth at the present.
I Corinthians 15: 51-52:
15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. These verses are a mirror of Isaiah 26 we quoted. Some equate the last trump spoken of, with the 7th angel blowing his trumpet, but I believe that is an error due to traditions of men and faulty interpretation.
I Thessalonians 5
5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And again in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 :
1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
When people avoid the book of Revelation and supporting scriptures that support its testimony, they do God a disservice. He said to study to show thyself approved. He said “watch”. We on this site are watching and taking in all the signs that surround us. I told one of our members, I’ll call “David” who sadly disagrees with me, that when Revelation starts to be revealed in our physical time, each of us will have a head slapping moment, including David. Picture yourself taking your right palm and with an open hand slap yourself on the forehead and say, “ahh, haa”, so that’s what He meant. I believe there will be many members of God’s Church discover that their traditions of their church, or their favorite minister was in error. Their interpretations of scripture and relying on the traditions of the Church of God , instead of the Word of God will be sorely deficient. May we study to show ourselves approved and to pray always to be accounted worthy to escape what is coming upon the earth. Jesus is the only way to be found worthy to escape the coming judgment and God’s wrath. You must start with Him and accept His free gift of salvation by answering the call of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn how to have that confidence, then start with the Gospel of John. Accept His free offer of salvation and believe on the “One whom God has sent”, which is Jesus Christ, the Lord. Then you will be able to begin that path to His glory and share in those blessing.
God bless you all. For any feedback or anything I can help you with, email me at