September 4, 2005 – September 10, 2005
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.
Suggested Reading: Revelation 22:1–8; The Great Controversy, 645–652, 657; Early Writings, 287–289.
In the previous lesson, we learned that when Jesus comes the second time, He comes as “King of kings and Lord of lords” to fight the coalition of Revelation 16:13, 14 in what is called the Battle of Armageddon. During the battle, Christ frees the subjects of His kingdom from the captivity of Satan. We were told about the resurrection of the sleeping saints and how they, with the living saints, receive immortality and are caught up together to meet their Lord in the air.
In this lesson, we will learn about their journey to the Holy City and their reception into the kingdom of glory.
1 Describe the gathering of the saints in preparation for the trip to heaven. See Isaiah 26:19; 1 Corinthians 15:51–55.
note: “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.” The Great Controversy, 645.
2 Describe the winged chariot as it moves upward with the saints toward the New Jerusalem. Compare Ezekiel 1:22–28.
note: “On each side of the cloudy chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the wheels cry, ‘Holy,’ and the wings, as they move, cry, ‘Holy,’ and the retinue of angels cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.’ And the redeemed shout, ‘Alleluia!’ as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem.” The Great Controversy, 645.
3 When Jesus comes, is His reward with Him? Revelation 22:12.
note: “Before entering the City of God, the Saviour bestows upon His followers the emblems of victory and invests them with the insignia of their royal state. The glittering ranks are drawn up in the form of a hollow square about their King, whose form rises in majesty high above saint and angel, whose countenance beams upon them full of benignant love.” The Great Controversy, 645, 646.
4 What three emblems (items) of victory are presented to the saints during this ceremony? Revelation 2:10; 7:9; 15:2.
note: “Throughout the unnumbered host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him, every eye beholds His glory whose ‘visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ Upon the heads of the overcomers, Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own ‘new name’ (Revelation 2:17), and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ In every hand are placed the victor’s palm and the shining harp. Then, as the commanding angels strike the note, every hand sweeps the harp strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in rich, melodious strains. Rapture unutterable thrills every heart, and each voice is raised in grateful praise: ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.’ Revelation 1:5, 6.” The Great Controversy, 646.
5 When Jesus opens the gates of the Holy City for the saints to enter in, what is the scene they behold? Revelation 22:1–5; Genesis 2:8–15.
note: “Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency.” The Great Controversy, 646.
6 Will God’s people (His church) be victorious commandment-keepers? Revelation 22:14; 15:2; 14:12; 1 Corinthians 15:56, 57; 1 John 5:4.
note: “The church militant is not in this world the church triumphant. From generation to generation, the enemy has been marshaling his forces against God. . . . But God’s children will not be frightened from their purpose by the proud, presumptuous opposition of evildoers. By faith they see a crown of life awaiting those who are victorious, and they press forward toward the mark for the prize of their high calling in Christ Jesus.” Review and Herald, July 26, 1898.
“The Church militant is not the Church triumphant. Unless the people of God wage a valiant warfare against every species of sin, they will never pass through the portals of the holy city. And we shall have no second trial. Now is the accepted time, the time in which we are to obtain the education that will enable us to live in the heavenly courts. The whole heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest to see who in this primary school is practicing the lessons of Christ.” Ibid., December 31, 1901.
“The injunction to each one of us is, ‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ The ardent desire of the apostles was to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. Jesus lives; he is before the Father in the heavenly courts, making intercession for those who are still upon the earth in the turmoil and strife of life; for the church militant is not yet the church triumphant.” Signs of the Times, July 24, 1893.
“Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: ‘Your conflict is ended.’ ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ [Matthew 25:34.]” The Great Controversy, 646.
7 Who does Jesus present to the Father after they enter the Holy City? John 17:9, 12, 24; Isaiah 8:18; Jude 24.
note: “Now is fulfilled the Saviour’s prayer for His disciples: ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ ‘Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: ‘Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.’ ‘Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.’ Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin’s discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine!” The Great Controversy, 646.
8 When Jesus and the redeemed gather around the great white throne, what is the cause of the unspeakable joy they experience? Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:4–7.
note: “With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour’s joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.” The Great Controversy, 647.
9 What group receives special recognition at this time? Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1–5.
note: “Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,—so resplendent is it with the glory of God,—are gathered the company that have ‘gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.’ With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, ‘having the harps of God,’ they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, ‘the voice of harpers harping with their harps.’ And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience—an experience such as no other company have ever had. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.’ These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as ‘the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1–5. ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation;’ they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have ‘washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.
10 What will be the song of the redeemed? Revelation 5:9, 12.
note: “The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore—humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father’s face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary’s cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: ‘Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!’ ” The Great Controversy, 651, 652.
11 Whom do we address when we pray? Matthew 6:9.
note: “The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, ‘Our Father.’ ” The Great Controversy, 652.