FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SEVEN – Part 20
Thyatira: Only One of the Seven Containing Recognition of Improvement
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works: and the last to be more than the first. Rev.2: 19, K.J.V.
“As applied to Christian history, the message[s] to Thyatira [Rev. 2: 18-29] is particularly appropriate to experience of the church during the Dark Ages,” 538-1798 A.D. “The Dark Ages proved to be a time of surpassing difficulty for those who truly loved and served God” [as it will be in the closing, rapid final events of earth’s probation just ahead of our final generation], “and the Thyatira period may well be called the Age of Adversity. Because of persecution the flame of truth flickered and nearly went out” [had not God shortened the Dark Ages with the rise of the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther in Germany about a quarter of century before 1798. Matt. 24: 21, 22.
NOTE: The Protestant Reformation sparked in Germany by Martin Luther writes “30” after 500 years!—unbelievable yet sadly true; an end-time vital marker which we will address in our next issues, leaving a currently obscure faithful remnant protestant people to be brought to the fore to finish the last glorious work with untold power of the Holy Spirit poured as the latter rain described in Isaiah 60 and Revelation 18.
At its glorious culmination, together with “great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues” described in Rev. 7: 9-17—the unbroken line and succession of truth-bearing, faithful, commandment-keeping overcomers of all ages since Adam, who come forth from their graves at the general resurrection—they are Christ’s precious jewels, the satisfying reward of the travail of His sacrifice and intercession—the church triumphant! With the unmistakable revelation of what our sinful earth will finally be in the rapidly deteriorating global distress blanketing our world, I increasingly yearn to be part of that church—bride, whether by the first resurrection or translation of the 144,000 antitypes of Enoch and Elijah—hardly matters. I just want to be eternally part of those whose heart desire was and is to be like Him– the Desire of ages and all nations, our precious Redeemer and Savior. Do you, too?]
“Charity. Greek agape, ‘love’ (see on Matt. 5: 43, 44). Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the sequence ‘love, and faith, and service, and patience.’ These are an enumeration of the ‘works’ of the church at Thyatira, love and faith providing the inner basis for the outward expression of service and patience.
Service. Greek diakonia, ‘service,’ or’ministry’ (see on Rom. 12: 7).
Faith. Greek pistis (see on Rom. 3: 3).
Patience. Greek hupomone (see Rev. 1: 9)
The last. That is, the last works more than the first works, as the Greek indicates. The message to Thyatira is the only one of the seven [churches] that contains a recognition of improvement. In spite difficulties at Thyatira, the church there experienced spiritual growth. Contrast the opposite experience at Ephesus vs. 4, 5 of Rev. 2).”- Footnotes, p. 556 on Rev. 2: 19, Exhaustive E.G. White Commentary on Revelation, vol. 2 .
The relationship and roles of charity, service [or ministry], faith, and works–according the gospel of Christ—not the “other gospel” fearfully confusing and deceiving numberless Christians today as a deadly result of the earlier adoption of heathenism, superstition, and idolatry during the Pergamos and Thyatira stages of the church:
Charity and Service: Harmony between purpose of heart and practices of life. – “Genuine faith will be manifested in good works; for good works are the fruit of faith. As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and cooperates with God, he works out in the life what God works in by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practices of life. Every sin must be renounced as the hateful things that crucified the Lord of life and glory, and the believer must have a progressive experience by continually doing the works of Christ [as He commands His faithful followers]. It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained.” – Ibid, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 397.
NOTE: Biblical justification, meaning, forgiveness full and complete, is Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to the undeserving yet humble, repenting sinner pleading for forgiveness for transgressing God’s law of love and liberty, by confessing these specific sins to Christ and Christ alone, the Creator incarnate—never through any fellow fallen, sinful, and mortal “beatified and “canonized” intermediaries, claiming by childlike faith the efficacy of Christ’s cleansing blood that was shed at Calvary in His substitutionary death in the sinner’s behalf. This justification is the sinner’s title to heaven and is granted instantaneously by the Father in the name of Jesus the Son.
Sanctification, on the other hand, is not instantaneous, one and done. It is a process of a lifetime for the born-again Christian. It is the process of “coming into the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4: 13. It is the same righteousness of Christ imparted through the Holy Spirit to the grateful, loving, and obedient sinner. This is his moral character fitnessfor heaven even yet in his sinful, fallen nature on earth—the fitting up place for heaven which takes a process of a lifetime of “living and walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh” (Gal. 6: 25; Rom. 8: 1-11), “as children of the light” (Eph. 5: 8) with Jesus “the light of the world,” everyday, all the way. This mortal nature and corruptible flesh (subject to decay and putrefaction following the first death) shall be “changed in a twinkling of and eye, at the last trump” to the sinless, incorruptible, immortal nature at Christ’s glorious second coming. 1 Cor. 15: 50-56; 1 Thess. 4: 13-18.
“The labor of love springs from the work of faith. Bible religion means constant work. ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.’[Phil. 2: 12, 13]. We are to be ‘zealous of ‘good works;’ (Titus 2: 14] ’ be careful to maintain good works.’ [Titus 3: 14]. And the True Witness says ‘I know thy works.’ Rev. 2: 19. While it is true that our busy activities will not in themselves insure salvation, it is also true that faith which unites us to Christ will stir the soul to activity.”- Ibid, Special Testimonies, Series A, B, 1b, pp. 36-37.
“The sinner’s only hope is to rely wholly upon Jesus Christ. ‘Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ [Rom. 14: 23]. Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God’s free gift to the believer, given to him by Christ’s sake alone. The trouble soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.” – Ellen G. White, Review & Herald, Jan. 29, 1895.
“Let me emphasize the importance of making Christ our hope and refuge every day of our lives. It is a pleasing fable that is presented to us in this age, that if we only believe in Christ, that is all that is required; works have nothing to do with our acceptance with God. Many trample the law of God under their feet, cherishing in their hearts the delusive thought that it is not binding on them. This is not the truth. [As the Bible says] in the resurrection all will come forth, they that have done good, and they that have done evil, and the fate of each will be decided according to as his works have been. All good works spring from genuine faith, and the fruits in the works show the character of the faith. Hence it is by our works that we shall be judged [see Eccl. 12: 13, 14; Rev. 14: 13; 22: 12-14].” – Ibid, Bible Echo, Jan 15, 1889.
‘The kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.’ [Matt. 11: 12]. We need to experience a resurrection on the subject of faith. Without faith (a faith that will rely upon a plain statement of the word) it is impossible to please God. [Heb. 11: 6]. A faith that is not sustained by works is worthless. Says the apostle, ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say, thou hast faith, and have not works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ [James 2: 14, 18]. That faith if cherished in our hearts will necessarily draw after it the good works which justify and endorse the faith of the believer. Good works are indispensable as the fruit of faith, and the sure evidence that we have passed from death unto life, because we love our believing brethren [1 John 3: 11-14].” – Ibid, The Bible Training School, June 1, 1915.
“Christ in His Sermon on the Mount represented the lives of Christians as the salt of the earth [Matt. 5: 13]. Without the preserving, sanctifying influence of the Christians’ words and actions the world would be altogether corrupt, and fit for the immediate sentence of justice that was pronounced upon the fruitless fig tree [Luke 13; 6-9]. True faith will have connected with it a working power. The Pharisees excluded themselves from the world.
Exalted their own piety above every other people, and the world was not better for their living in it. But, and if the salt have lost its savor wherewith shall it be salted. Christ rebuked this exclusiveness in stating the true position of the Christian in the world: ‘Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid, neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ It is the good works of the Christian that contain the precious influence to preserve the world. In good works which stand in contrast with the degenerate polluting influence of the world that it reveals the true enormity of sin. The moral power of good works is ever pointing the sinner upward to God and to heaven.
It is not words and profession that the world need now as much as the savor of good works. Christians should have power to press back [push back in today’s parlance] the moral darkness that threatens to enshroud the world like the pall of death. This they may do if they are connected with God. In the strength of the Lord we may do much in becoming channels of light.
Jesus comes to each us expecting fruit [as He did with the acted parable illustrating the Jewish nation during His three-and-a half-year ministry on earth “first to the Jew then to the Gentiles’]. Shall we disappoint His earnest search and find in our lives nothing but leaves? I earnestly plead with all professors of godliness to learn a lesson from the parable of the barren fig tree. Let the fruit appear in your lives in deeds of mercy to your fellow man, and in humble sincere devotion to God, showing the mark of distinction between you and the world by the fruit you bear unto righteousness. Said Christ, It is My Father’s good pleasure that ye bear much fruit.” – Ibid, Signs of the Times, Feb. 21, 1878.
On Genuine Faith. – “But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against temptation. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequences of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.”- Ibid, Desire of Ages, p. 126.
“The forgiveness of sin is promised to him who repents and believes; the crown of life will be the reward of him who is faithful to the end. We may grow in grace by improving through the grace we already have. We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world if would be found blameless in the day of God. Faith and works go hand in hand; they work harmoniously in the act of overcoming. Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead. [dead works and dead faith!] Works will never save us; it is the merit of Christ that will avail in our behalf. Through faith in Him, Christ will make all our imperfect efforts acceptable to God. The faith we are required to have is not a do-nothing faith; saving faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul. He who will lift up holy hands to God without wrath and doubting will walk intelligently in the way of God’s commandments.” – Ibid, Faith & Works, pp. 48, 49. (Continued next week)