Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
I and mission team came back from Israel safely under a sensitive and detailed guidance of Father God.
The Mission Trip was precisely guided according to Father God’s providence.
I will give you detailed explanations about the trip when we have group meetings with you.
I’d like to express my thanks to those of you who have helped us with prayers and fasting, and other various kinds of support so that Father God’s will and providence for Israel can be completely accomplished.
Dear brothers and sisters.
In the last lecture, I told you about 5 of the men who will become the 24 Elders in heaven. Among those 5 men, I explained about Apostle Paul’s faith.
In order to become one of 24 elders, you must be the best of the best in general aspects of faith. But especially, your faith must be outstanding enough to represent one aspect of faith such as love, faithfulness, goodness, and integrity.
Tonight, we will continue to take a look at the faith of those people who will make up the 24 Elders.
Apostle Peter was the best disciple of the Lord. But before he received the Holy Spirit, he made a great mistake of denying the Lord.
And so, he had lived his entire life in indebtedness and embarrassment.
Even though he was faithful to God’s work and forsook his own life, after he met the resurrected Lord and received the Holy Spirit, He always had such an indebted and embarrassed feeling in the corner of his heart.
That’s why he couldn’t die the way the Lord died on the cross; he requested to be crucified upside down.
Even by choosing this way of dying, he wanted to pay off such embarrassed and indebted heart for the Lord.
Now, who has such a heart like Apostle Peter’s in these days?
How many people are out there who inscribe the grace of the Lord on their hearts for their entire lives, and try to repay His grace to the point of sacrificing their lives?
Even though the Lord saved their souls that were originally destined to go to hell, and gave true hope to them, many people forget such great love and grace of the Lord, easily get disheartened when faced with difficulties, and even make complaints against the Lord.
When they met the Lord for the first time, their hearts were burning and they made confessions to devote their lives to the Lord. But as time goes by, they lead an indolent believing life, and become content with such a lazy faith.
They don’t say, “How can I give more?” “How can I give better?” But instead, they think to themselves, “I’m doing OK.”
But I’d like to urge you if you truly long for New Jerusalem; please make a confession to God saying, “I love You so much, Lord. There is no change in my fervor that I’d even to die on a cross upside down like Apostle Pete and my fervor is getting hotter and hotter.”
As the one who received such a great grace from the Lord, and as the one who was forgiven of those unforgivable sins, and received grace to work for the Lord, there must be no change in the desire of your heart to repay His grace with all your life until the Lord comes back.
When you stand before the 24 Elders, instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed, you must be confident to receive great glory and reward.
Apostle Peter didn’t think of becoming one of the 24 elders. He just worked for the Lord, forsaking his life, until the last moment came to repay the grace of the Lord, and then he could reserve a glorious seat among the 24 elders.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The next person, Apostle John, doesn’t have a detailed account in the Bible, but just from the fact that he wrote the Book of Revelation, we can discern his level of faith.
As I have mentioned many times, not just anyone can receive revelation.
They must meet proper qualifications in the sight of God, and the most important qualification is sanctification.
When they sanctify themselves and become a clean vessel, Father God will give them clear revelation in various ways such as His inspiration, visions and His voice.
According to a story, Apostle John wasn’t harmed but protected when he was thrown into a pot of burning hot oil.
Just as 1 John 5:18 says, “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him,” Apostle John met the proper qualifications completely to be protected by God.
Moreover, we can find in the Bible through “the First Letter of John” how deeply he understood the love of God.
The deep level of love that he realized and he himself accomplished in his heart is well written in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
After Apostle John prepared his vessel of sanctification and entered a deep level of spirit, he piled up an immeasurable amount of prayers to receive revelation from God.
His forehead proves this fact well.
Those who have seen Apostle John with spiritual eyes know what his forehead looks like.
His forehead is so thick it appears that it was bulging out.
It’s because he has a sort of callus in his forehead due to his prayers.
On the wall of the Cave of Patmos Island where he is said to have received the revelation, you can find a mark where he put his hand during his prayers.
While praying like that for a long time, he hit his forehead against the wall, callous started to cover his forehead, and finally he came to have a very thick forehead.
It is proof of the long years he endured with patience and obeyed before God in order to receive revelation from God.
This is how Apostle John was able to receive such precious revelations of the Book of Revelation which clearly reveals the things of the last days.
Since countless people can awake and live a proper believing life thanks to this book of Revelation, how great His reward in heaven will be!
Next, what about the faith of King David?
Acts 13:22 says, “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'”
From his childhood David loved God very much.
Even at a young age, he stood against Goliath, who taunted and mocked the name of God. He killed him, and brought victory to Israel.
Since he loved God, he didn’t try to spare his own life, but courageously fought against the giant Philistine.
But nowadays, some people hide their faith or don’t stand up boldly for fear they should see some kind of loss because of their faith.
They act as if ignorant of it when the name of God is disgraced.
Even though something is against the word of God, they compromise with it and follow it.
But David didn’t just sit back and watch Goliath taunting and misusing the name of God.
No matter how huge Goliath was, and no matter how small a youth he was, David depended on the name of the God and courageously fought against Goliath.
God accomplished His will and providence through such a person as David.
Moreover, David depended only on God in everything.
Instead of using his own thought or the method of someone else, he asked God everything, and obeyed and followed the will and order of God.
Even though he grew up on fields of battle from his youth, he didn’t depend on his experience or wisdom in a battle, but he depended entirely on God alone.
He asked God even in the most trivial of things.
Well, there was a time that David committed a sin before God, and a wrath of God came upon him.
But David repented and turned back right away. He was also proper before God in his repentance.
In other words, he acknowledged his sin and repented of it right away. He also overcame the retribution for his sin with humility.
Also, even though he was a king of a country, when the Ark of God returned to Israel, he was so pleased that he danced before his people.
He didn’t care about what others thought as long as what he did was pleasing to God. He disregarded his position and sense of decorum.
How many leaders do you know who will disregard their position and what is deemed socially or politically correct without caring about the opinions of others only to give glory to God and to please God?
Just as Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ,” we must please only God.
In order to do so, we must follow the will of God in any situation and under any conditions.
It was in this way that King David always chose a way to please God in any given situation.
Also, he accomplished goodness greatly.
David showed only goodness and grace to King Saul, but King Saul only tried to kill David. But when David had two chances in which he might have been able to kill King Saul, he rather showed the deeds of Goodness that could touch other’s hearts.
King Saul was touched by David’s deed.
If you have such a heart like David, don’t you think God will surely refine you to lead you to a glorious position in New Jerusalem?
Dear brothers and sisters.
The prophet Samuel was handed over to a priest and brought up in the temple of God right after he was weaned.
From an early age, he lived a life that was separated from the world and devoted to God.
Regarding this young Samuel, God said in 1 Samuel 2:35, “But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.”
Also, as written in 1 Samuel 3:19, which reads, “Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail,” Samuel was completely guaranteed by God.
God even said that what the people did to Samuel was what they did to God. Samuel was such a man of God and a prophet who was set up on behalf of God.
And during entire his life, he was faithful to his given duty following the will of God.
Samuel lived his entire life with faithfulness, devotion, and obedience before God like this, and God set him up as one of 24 elders and made him a role model of human cultivation.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Until now, I have explained to you about the faith of Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, Apostle John, King David, and Samuel. Now, I’m going to tell you 7 others who will become the 24 Elders.
They are, Joseph, the ruler of Egypt; Daniel, and Daniel’s 3 friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and Deacons Philip and Stephen in the New Testament.
What aspect of their faith was acknowledged to them to become those among the 24 Elders?
First of all, Joseph was sold to a foreign country as a slave at the age of 17 by his brothers who envied Joseph.
Actually Joseph was about to be killed by his brothers, but his life was spared. He was sold to a merchant as a slave.
But even in this situation, Joseph was not disheartened. He was so honest and faithful in his position he was recognized by others.
However, he was wrongfully accused again, and sent to prison.
From a fleshly point of view, his life seemed to be over now.
As if he were falling into a mire, he was in a situation of deep0 despair where there was no hope for a better life.
But even in this situation, Joseph’s faith in God became even stronger.
In his firm faith that it was God leading his life, he did his best in his life within only goodness and truth.
And eventually, in the providence of God, he became a ruler of Egypt, an empire that was dominant in his days.
But it was when Joseph met his brothers again who had sold him as a slave to a foreign country that Joseph’s outstanding faith was truly revealed.
From a fleshly perspective, Joseph had to pass many extreme crises in 13 years because of the envy and jealousy of his brothers.
Joseph came to have authority in his hand to govern the life and death of his brothers.
But Joseph didn’t want revenge.
Even though his brothers were afraid of being punished for their wicked doings, Joseph rather comforted his brothers with the words of goodness, and he protected his brothers and their households, and treated them with goodness.
How many people are out there in the world today who keep their faith and live in goodness even during the times of trial?
When they are faced with small problems, there are so many people who begrudge and complain, saying, “Why does God give me this trial?”.
People of today don’t endure, but rather get back at others when they experience a little loss or are falsely accused. Then, who would completely forgive and act with the utmost goodness towards those who tried to kill him, sold him to a foreign country as a slave, and made him suffer for many years like Joseph did?
Joseph’s brothers were not even born of the same mother of Joseph. They were brothers by different mothers.
Dear brothers and sisters.
I am told that many people think it is rather a loss and unproductive to live a life in goodness.
But the truth is, if they truly accomplish complete goodness in their hearts and do the deeds in goodness, then God will work in justice and never cause you a loss, but rather He will return blessings to you.
Now, let’s take a look at the faith of Daniel and his 3 friends.
They showed their integrity of faith in the face of threats to their lives. They never compromised with anything in any situation.
It doesn’t mean that they had faith not to compromise when they were face with the big trials.
By their faith, no matter how small or trivial a matter it may have seemed, if it was not in accordance with the will of God, they were able to cast it off without regret.
Therefore, when you compare your faith to their faith, you must check how well you keep the truth without compromising.
You’ve heard so many times the Do’s, Don’ts, Keep’s, and Throw-away’s; and you must have made a resolution to live by the word many times.
Then, how well did you keep your resolutions?
Did you not compromise saying “I wanted to live by the word and I didn’t want to compromise, but the situation forced me live the way I did.”
Didn’t you say, “The situation is so difficult. God will understand me if I do this,” and then compromise with the world?
Only when you don’t forsake your faith but live by the word of truth, even facing a despairing situation like being put into a blazing hot furnace, or a lions’ den, can you stand on such a glorious position.
Deacon Philip was full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and he was selected as one of 7 deacons in the early church.
He was neither a servant of God nor an elder, but the Bible records he manifested God’s power as greatly as the apostles.
In the city of Samaria, he healed many people with unclean spirits, paralyzed people, and the lame. Many people listened to him when he spread the gospel, and they believed in the Lord since he showed signs.
Also, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he met an Ethiopian eunuch who had great authority, and he preached the gospel to him.
When doing God’s work, he did it not in his own thought, but he was only guided by the voice and intervention of the Holy Spirit.
And it was not only he who had good faith. Acts 21:9 says, “Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.”
It says how well he brought up his children in the truth.
Like this, only a few fragments of records for Deacon Philip are left in the bible, but we can still clearly figure out how faithful a man of God he was, based on those bits of recorded information.
Most of all, the power of God was manifested through him, and he was one of a few men who manifested God’s power in the New Testament. This fact alone tells us how well he was recognized before God.
Likewise, even if a position is a mere deacon in this earth, when his soul is proper before God, he will stand side by side with elders, and he can even be honored to become one of the 24 Elders.
Stephen was also a deacon, but the great power of God was manifested through him as well.
Just as Acts 6:8 says, “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people,” great wonders and signs were performed by Deacon Stephen.
Also Acts 6:10 says, “But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking,” he had the authority of the word in the fullness and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
By the way, one of the aspect you have to check when comparing your faith to Stephen’s is the heart of goodness.
While being stoned by people, He prayed for them, saying, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” and he drew his last breath.
Even facing death, he didn’t think of himself, but he showed his mercy for those who practice evil
Even though Deacon Stephen had this kind of goodness, he was far from being weak or cowardly.
Even before those Jewish people who surrounded him to kill him, without any fear or submission, he was courageous enough to preach the gospel and die in martyrdom.
That’s because he had spiritual courage to throw himself in the arms of the Lord.
If you have this kind of courage, you will have no obstacles. How greatly will the kingdom of God be expanded through such you?
In the next lecture, we will keep looking at the faith of those who will become one the 24 elders, especially those in our generation.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The Bible makes a clear and detailed record of those who will enter New Jerusalem, and among them, who will become the 24 elders. What kind of faith they have is also recorded.
Therefore, the Bible is a textbook that indicates the way to heaven. At the same time, it is a manual that tells us how we can enter New Jerusalem, and become one of the 24 elders.
If you truly believe this fact, how much will you love this Bible, the word of God?
For example, Let’s say that you will soon take the most important exam of your life, and you were told that all the questions on the exam can be found in a book.
How preciously would you treat the book?
You may hold the book even when you are sleeping for fear someone might take it away from you.
You will carry the book wherever you go, and try to read it whenever it’s possible.
Likewise, you must love the word of God, meditate on the word all the time, and cultivate the word into spirit, and make bread out of it.
If you truly long for entering New Jerusalem, and becoming one of the 24 Elders, you will not let what you heard tonight slip away by going in one ear and then out the other.
Instead of saying, “I know what their faith was like,” you will listen to the word again and again, compare their faith to your faith, and try to resemble their faith through your changed deeds.
Then, New Jerusalem is not far from you, but it will be accomplished inside your heart.
And eventually you will be able to enter New Jerusalem in the future.
May you put what you heard tonight deep in your hearts and change so that you will advance to New Jerusalem and higher positions in heaven, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!