Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
So far, among the forefathers of faith recorded in the Bible, I’ve explained about 12 of them who will become the 24 Elders.
In addition to the 4 highest ranked people, Elijah, Enoch, Abraham, and Moses, Apostle Paul and others whose ranks follow the Apostle Paul will become the 24 Elders.
They are Apostle Peter, Apostle John, King David, Samuel, Joseph, Daniel, Daniel’s 3 friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, and Deacon Phillip, and Deacon Stephen.
When we take a close look at their faith, we can see how properly they meet the conditions before God.
Considering the faith of Daniel’s 3 friends, who are not as relatively well known, they had good faith even from when they were young.
When they were taken to Babylon as captives at their young ages, in order not to defile themselves before God, they denied the king’s choice food and the wine. They only ate vegetables and drank water.
But their appearance was better and they were more solid than all the youths who ate the king’s choice food.
They didn’t compromise with the unavoidable situation; even when they would face a life-threatening situation, they showed their integrity to keep their faith before God.
Since their faith was such as this, even when they were about to be thrown into a blazing furnace that was 7 times hotter than usual, they showed the faith by not bowing down to idols.
We can find some people who make God sorry; even though they seemed to have good faith, when they encounter a situation that may cause them loss, they try to avoid the situation by compromising with the world.
If they face with a life-threatening situation, would they be able to show the faith that is like the faith of Daniel and his 3 friends?
Compared to Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter, Deacon Philip and Deacon Stephen were not-very well known figures either.
But their faith was never second to other disciples of the Lord; their faith was even greater than other disciples’.
The evidence is their power.
Not all the disciples of the Lord manifested the power.
Among the Lord’s disciples, Apostle Peter is the only one who is recorded in the bible as having manifested the power.
But it is recorded in the Bible that Deacon Philip and Deacon Stephen alsomanifested the power.
Just as the Lord said, “So then, you will know them by their fruits,” in Matthew 7:20, we can learn from their fruit how they can become one of the 24 Elders.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Among the people God told me about who will become the 24 Elders, there are people who are still being cultivated in our generation.
I will tell you two people among them.
It’s not the time yet to tell you about other people.
The reason is, as I have told you earlier, they are still under human cultivation, and they are not yet confirmed.
God, who foresees and preplans, searched the heart of Apostle Paul and chose him as “a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles.” (Romans 15:16) Likewise, God told me about them knowing their hearts.
They have search a heart that they can become one of the 24 Elders when they sanctify themselves, and become faithful and perfect during the rest of the days of their lives.
Therefore, the result is up to their freewill.
Even though someone was given a promise, if his heart changes and he forsakes the word of God, then the promise will be meaningless.
However, whoever works harder to have a proper heart before God during the rest days of human cultivation can be given the promise of God to become one of the 24 Elders.
You don’t need to worry about something like, “There will be only the 24 Elders. What if there are more than 24 people who will meet the conditions to become the 24 Elders?”
All you have to do is to march on toward a goal that God gives you until the last moment the Lord comes back.
By the way, the two people I’m going to talk about are still under human cultivation. But their existence is already recorded in the bible.
They will accomplish their given duty as written in the bible, and their faith will be good enough to allow them become one of the 24 elders. That’s why they can become the 24 Elders even though the human cultivation is not over yet.
These two men are the Two Witnesses written in the 11th chapter of Revelation.
Even though these two witnesses have faith good enough to be caught up in the air when the Lord comes back, they will stay in the world during the 7 Year Great Tribulation to accomplish a great task.
The bible says that the period of time they will do their task is “twelve hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 11:3)
God didn’t say exactly when it’s going to be during the 7 Year Great Tribulation. However, it’s certain that they will accomplish their duty in this world for 3 and half years out of 7 years.
And their duty is to proclaim the word of God to the people who are left in the world, and to manifest the power to testify to God.
For example, the bible says that they ‘have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; to turn the waters into blood.’ (Revelation 11:6)
When they order various plagues according to the will of Father God, the plagues will take place.
Even though they proclaim the word of God along with such a great power, evil people will not repent and turn back, but they will hate these 2 witnesses and try to kill them since their hearts will be stricken.
However, Revelation 11:5 says, “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.”
Until they accomplish their duty given in the providence of God, God will completely protect them and guarantee them.
When the given time of 3 years and half is up, these two witnesses will be killed.
And those who hate the two witnesses will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.
But later, after the three and half days, God will revive them.
And when there is a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here,” they will go up into heaven in the cloud before the eyes of other people.
It will be not an easy task to accomplish their duty for 3 and half years during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, but they will completely accomplish it, and see this glorious end.
Their duty will be explained in detail later. Simply speaking, their duty is give the God’s last warning message and the message of salvation to those people who will be left in this world and undergo the tribulation of the 7 years.
Those who have even a little bit of goodness left in them will seize the opportunity of salvation when they hear the voice of these 2 witnesses along with other 144,000 people who will be explained later.
On the other hand, however, there are the people who will persecute the 2 witnesses and enjoy watching them martyred. They are the ones who will prove how evil they are by ignoring even the last warning of God.
Dear brothers and sisters.
When you read the bible about these two witnesses before, the story about them was rather strange. You might feel it is not something very closely related to you.
But these two witnesses recorded in the bible are living in some place with us breathing the same air we are breathing.
Then, where do they live now in this world?
It is the country that I’ve recently visited.
And they are closely related with the mission that God has given to this church in the end time of the world, and they will be revealed dramatically.
I will explain about it next time, but now, I’m going to talk about the 2 witnesses briefly.
They are Jewish, and they are currently devote adherents of Orthodox Judaism.
And they don’t know yet how they are to be used in the future yet.
The reason God chooses these two witnesses out of Jewish people is that, in His providence, He wants to end this ministry of Gospel in Israel where the gospel started.
They are meek and gentle like lambs, and they have such a beautiful heart before God. Until the moment God works on them to accept Jesus Christ, they will keep the Judaism thoroughly.
It’s like Apostle Paul was an out-and-out Judaist before he came to know the Lord.
Since they greatly love God from the heart, they precisely live in their own way by the law of Judaism that they learned.
However, they are always longing for the true will of God and the truth.
When the time comes and they experience the fiery works of the Holy Spirit, they will convert from their good heart, and they will accept the Lord.
And until the Lord comes back, they will cast off every form of evil, completely sanctify themselves, and prepare their vessels to be able to accomplish the duty that will be given by God.
When the Lord comes to the earth, and all the saved people are caught up in the air, these two witnesses will be left in the world, which is like a desolate plain, and they will proclaim the will of the Lord.
Among the people who are left, they will preach the will of the Lord and they will die in martyrdom. But they will be resurrected, and lifted up into heaven, and their duty will be done.
Now, put yourself into their shoes, and try to imagine you are given such a duty.
The Holy Spirit is taken out from this world, and everything is under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.
All the saved people are caught up into heaven, and there is no one left to take sides for you.
Of course, there are people who will be saved through a gleaning salvation, but they cannot help you. Instead, it is you who are left in this world to preach the gospel to them so that they can seize the last opportunity of salvation.
Meanwhile, due to wars and natural disasters, the world is getting more and more devastated, and those whose conscience are seared with a hot iron will try to kill you.
You have to stay in that situation for 3 and half years, fight the lonely spiritual battle in the will of God, and in the end die a martyr.
It is like shouting the name of the Lord alone in the center of burning hell. You must completely give up your life in front of the evil people who are like servants from hell.
If you are to depend only on God, manifest the power of God, and accomplish the duty completely, what kind of faith is it going to be?
It’s natural that they should become the 24 Elders.
Dear brothers and sisters.
I’ve explained to you about 14 people out of the 24 Elders. Have you compared your faith to their faith while listening to the message?
If you think of the common aspects from the faith of those who will become the 24 Elders, their heart is steadfast and good, and they love God to the utmost degree, and they kept their faith in any given situations.
In order to accomplish God’s will, they didn’t spare their lives, and they accomplished love in their hearts.
Also, they were faithful with burning fervor, and they devoted everything only for the glory of God.
They were born, brought up, and given a duty in different times and in different surroundings, but despite all these, there were such clear common aspects in their faith.
Therefore, when all the people who are cultivated on the earth stand before the Throne of God on the Final Day of Judgment, no matter what time, what countries, what surroundings and conditions they were in, when their faith is compared to that of the 24 Elders, they cannot make any excuses at all.
But God doesn’t stand these 24 Elders to compare others’ faith to that of the 24 Elders, and to reveal their shortcomings.
When your faith is compared to that of the 24 Elders, you may receive praise and glory as well.
If you are faithful and devoted to the kingdom and righteousness of God to the point of sacrificing your life, and love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, you will receive such a great reward and glory as given to the 24 Elders.
Therefore please, even though now your faith has fallen a little behind compared to the faith of the 24 Elders, set their faith as your goal and run that race of faith.
The reason God told this church about the people who will become the 24 Elders is that God wants to give you such a goal.
By telling you who will become the 24 Elders and about what their faith was like, God wants you to make an effort to change to become like them.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you may set goals of the righteousness, love, goodness, and faith of the 24 Elders, and accomplish them.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Tonight’s scripture says that the 24 Elders were sitting upon the thrones, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
In heaven, everyone will wear a white garment. The reason it says they were clothed in white garments is to show how clean and sanctified they are before God.
The white garments the 24 Elders put on are greatly different from the white garments of the people in heaven. It is even brighter and more beautiful to be distinguished from what the people of New Jerusalem wear.
And the golden crowns given to the 24 Elders contain the meaning that they were faithful to God to the point of death, they prayed with tears for the kingdom of God, and they loved God with all their hearts.
The Gold that makes up their crowns is evident of their faith like pure gold.
Not all the golden crowns are the same.
Their sizes are different, and their shape and ornaments are different.
Some are big, and some others are small, and some others are middle sized.
Some have lots of jewels, and some others have fewer jewels. The brightness from the crowns is also different.
Even if they are all 24 Elders, they also have ranks among them.
The reward and glory according to the ranks are different, and there is a precise order.
Since the aspects of their faith that God recognizes are also different, depending on what aspect was superior to others’ , their respective reward and ornaments are different.
However, the highest ranked people will become the 24 Elders in heaven, and thus the glory and nobility given to them are too great, glorious, and beautiful to compare to anybody.
Now, the fifth verse says, “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
It says that flashes of lightening and sound and peals of thunder come from the throne of God. It represents the appearance of God who kept sound in His light in the very beginning.
Of course, He is not in the form of light and sound, but in a certain sort of form. But still the original characters are still there.
Therefore, God can still work through light and sound, and there contains the dignity and the power of God.
Also, ‘the flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder’ has the meaning that everything in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd heaven belongs to Father God, and that all the laws that these are operating by are from Father God.
Therefore, the changing of the appearance of the sky and showing wonders in the 1st heaven are all belongs to the power of God.
The latter part of the verse will be explained in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Apostle John’s spirit was separated, and he saw the 24 elders who were before the throne of God.
But When Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, the 24 Elders were not confirmed yet.
There are the people who are already confirmed, but it is when the Lord comes back and the human cultivation comes to an end that all the 24 Elders are to be confirmed.
Well, the 2 witnesses will accomplish their duty in the earth after that, but they are already to become the 24 Elders in the providence of God who foresees, foreknows and preplans. Therefore, when the saved children of God are caught up in the air and the human cultivation comes to an end, the 24 Elders will be confirmed.
But Apostle John already saw the 24 Elders sitting on the thrones even though the human cultivation has not come to an end.
Does it mean that all the 24 Elders are already chosen and set?
The Apostle John clearly saw the 24 Elders.
Since God who knows everything showed it to Apostle John, doesn’t it mean that all the 24 Elders are already chosen?
It does not.
The 24 Elders are not chosen and set yet.
If they are already set, isn’t it useless no matter what effort those who are not set (as one of the Elders) make?
Therefore, as I told you before, the reason Apostle John’s spirit was able to see all the 24 Elders is because his spirit was looking, transcending space and time, at the situation that will happen before the throne of God in the future.
Even though God works according to the justice, He can control the flow of time, and make the future that can be seen as if it were taking place now.
No matter who you are, if you make an effort even from now on, and meet the qualifications, you can become one of the 24 Elders.
This is what is meant by the ‘foreknowledge and predestination’ of God.
God knows everything, but it doesn’t mean that God predestines everything the way He wants.
Of course, since God foresees what will happen and what the result will be, what God preplans will surely take place as planed.
But this ‘predestination’ that God predestines and accomplishes His providence is completely different from “the Doctrine of Predestination” where the result of all things is first determined.
God doesn’t predestine all the results from His side, and makes all things go as planed.
God gives opportunities to each individual according to their freewill, and when they meet the qualifications according to the justice, God allows them to reap the proper fruit.
However, since God foresees all things, He also knows how they will do the things in their freewill.
In other words, He foreknows the result.
Therefore, God can predestine His providence according to that result, and His providence will surely be accomplished.
But God doesn’t interfere at His own will, and accomplish His work against the freewill of a man in order to accomplish His providence.
Each individual will do their own things according to their own freewill.
For instance, when you cook rice, you know how many people can eat depending on how much rice you cook.
If you cook the amount of rice that can serve 5 people, then there will be rice cooked good enough to serve 5.
But if you burn the rice in the middle of it, there will be no rice to serve 5.
The doctrine of predestination explains in this case, that if God predestines there will be much rice to serve 5, there must be enough rice to serve 5 people.
Then, it will be fine to prepare other dishes to serve 5.
On the contrary, the ‘Foreknowledge and Predestination” explains that even if a man cooks rice whose amount is good enough to serve 5, he can burn the rice or make a mistake while cooking, but God also foreknows this as well.
Since God foresees how much rice will be cooked in the end, He prepares the amount of other dishes as well.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I want you to make a decision from the depth of your heart, and run the race of faith for the glory of New Jerusalem.
There is still time left for the human cultivation. If you fervently love God, and if you are faithful for the kingdom of God with all your life and strength, there will be a great glory prepared for you as well.
Especially, even though not much time is left, as long as you prepare your vessel in accomplishing the World Mission and the Grand Sanctuary given to this church, you can play a great role in it.
Here, preparing your vessel means becoming a man of spirit.
You now surely know well that it’s impossible without being spirit.
May you accomplish spirit and whole spirit all the more quickly so that the works of God can be fully accomplished through you, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!