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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 28

Letter to the Church of Laodicea

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
Screen 1
Let’s pray together:
O Lord,

During our previous six lessons, we learned that the letters to the churches carry a prophetic message addressed to Your Church throughout history.

So we can already guess that the last letter, addressed to Laodicea, is aimed at Your Church in the last period of history, that is, the time of the end.

This letter is therefore the most important for us, and this is why we ask You to grant us the vital presence of Your Holy Spirit in a special way as we study this lesson. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 1:11 Comments
What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. The last of the seven letters is addressed to the church of Laodicea, a name which means «Judging the people».

Founded under Antiochus II Theos, who reigned from 261 to 246 B.C., and named in honor of his wife, Laodice, the city was an important banking and commercial center.

Its wealth came from, among other things, its clothes made of black wool, and its eye salve which was widely renowned on the continent.
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Colossians 4:13 Comments
For I bear him record, that [Epaphras] has a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul mentions Laodicea, and associates it to Hierapolis, a neighboring city.

Lacking sufficient springs of water, Laodicea had to rely on the thermal waters of Hierapolis to lay in supplies.

Transported by a stone canal system, these hot waters were lukewarm when they reached Laodicea, being excellent for therapeutic bathing, but definitely undrinkable.
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Picture 4 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:14 Comments
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

«These things said the Amen (...).»
By introducing Himself as «the Amen», Jesus announces that we are at the end of Church history on earth, and that, at His imminent return, He will finally fulfill all God’s promises which still remain unaccomplished.
2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in [Jesus Christ] are «Yes,» and in Him «Amen,» to the glory of God by us.
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:14 Comments
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

«These things said the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness (...).»
In addition to «the Amen», that is, the end of all things, Jesus also introduces Himself as «the Faithful and True Witness», once again referring to His glorious return, and His work of judgment of the nations.
Revelation 19:11
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.

And He that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war.
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
Screen 6
Revelation 3:14 Comments
To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

«These things said the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.»
Finally, Jesus introduces Himself as the «Beginning of the creation of God».

By comparing these two passages, we see that Jesus does not say that He was created. He declares, rather, that by His resurrection, He allows the beginning of a creation which, this time, will be eternal.
Revelation 1:5
Jesus Christ [is] the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Being God like His Father, Jesus always existed, and created everything:
«In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.» (John 1:1-3)

«[God] in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.» (Hebrews 1:2)

«For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.» (Colossians 1:16,17)

«I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.» (Revelation 22:13)
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:15 Comments
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.

I would you were cold or hot.
Finding nothing positive in Laodicea, Jesus continues His letter with the main negative point: its spiritual lukewarmness.

This feature corresponds exactly with the Church of the last days, from 1844 to Jesus’ return.

Satisfied with itself, the Church is nonchalant, becoming more insensitive to the calls to repentance than a really cold Church, which could still cast a critical look at its tragic situation.
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Picture 9 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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2 Timothy 3:1,2,4,5 Comments
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, (...) lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
The lukewarmness of the outwardly pious end-time Church is often foretold in the Holy Scriptures.

Letting materialism invade it, the Church delights in its comfort, its wealth.

The Church knows that Jesus is coming very soon, but still cannot find enough motivation to seriously prepare itself for that glorious Day.
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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1 Kings 18:21 Comments
And Elijah came to all the people, and said,

«How long halt you between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.»

But the people answered him not a word.
When God is no longer our only God, the problem of Laodicea arises.
Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

You cannot serve God and mammon.
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:16 Comments
So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Just like the lukewarm and undrinkable water of Laodicea, the lukewarm Christian won’t be able to abide in Jesus Christ.

A judgment work is now taking place in heaven, keeping in the Book of Life only the believers whose conversion is genuine, and rejecting the others. «For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.» (1 Peter 4:17).
Daniel 8:14
To two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:16,22 Comments
So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. (...)

He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.
Let’s note the parallel in Jesus’ words about spiritual lukewarmness.
Luke 14:34,35
Salt is good: but if the salt has lost his flavor, with which shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.

He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:17 Comments
You say,

«I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.»
The lukewarmness of Laodicea is also explained by the simple fact that it believes it is self-sufficient, rich, in need of nothing.

Just like Ephraim, it is strongly convinced that its spiritual condition is absolutely blameless.
Hosea 12:8
Ephraim said,

«Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.»
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:17 Comments
You say, «I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;» and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Unfortunately, Jesus’ diagnosis is completely different: the spiritual condition of Laodicea is pathetic, wretched, even critical.
Proverbs 21:2
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord ponders the hearts.
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:17,18 Comments
Because you say, «I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;» and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Jesus recommends three remedies for Laodicea:
  • «gold tried in the fire»;
  • «white raiment»;
  • and «eye salve».
What do these three items symbolize?
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:18 Comments
I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich. «Gold tried in the fire» symbolizes faith in Jesus Christ, tested by the fire of adversity and trials, and by our battle against sin.
1 Peter 1:7
(...) that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
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Faith in Christ is gold tried in the fire, the wealth of the believer:
«Listen, my beloved brothers: Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him?» (James 2:5)

«For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.» (Galatians 5:6)

«For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich.» (2 Corinthians 8:9)

«God would make known [to His saints] what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.» (Colossians 1:27)
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:18 Comments
I counsel you to buy of Me (...) white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear. Next, Laodicea must obtain the white raiment, symbolizing the righteousness of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all our sins.
Revelation 7:13,14
What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and from where came they? (...)

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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The white raiment covering our nakedness is Christ’s righteousness:
«All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.» (Isaiah 64:6)

«Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ.» (Romans 13:14)

«You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.» (Galatians 3:26,27)

«Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And He answered and spoke to those that stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment.”» (Zechariah 3:3,4)

«I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation.» (Isaiah 61:10)

«He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life.» (Revelation 3:5)
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Picture 20 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:18 Comments
I counsel you (...) [to] anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Finally, Jesus advises Laodicea to anoint its eyes with eye salve, symbolizing the Holy Spirit who reveals our real spiritual condition.
John 16:8,13
And when [the Comforter] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (...)

When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.
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Picture 21 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
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The eye salve’s anointing is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who opens our eyes:
«The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.» (John 14:26)

«You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.» (1 John 2:20 [NKJV])

«The anointing which you have received of [God] stays in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.» (1 John 2:27)

«(...) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling.» (Ephesians 1:17,18)
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Picture 22 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
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Revelation 3:19 Comments
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Jesus loves Laodicea.

The severity of His letter does not aim to discourage His Church, but rather to awaken it before it is too late.
Hebrews 12:4,5
You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children,

«My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him.»
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:19 Comments
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.

Be zealous therefore, and repent.
Laodicea must quickly awaken and repent, because Jesus’ return draws near, and if the Church does not change, it surely won’t be ready for that great Day.
Revelation 3:3
Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.

If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you.
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:20 Comments
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.

If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
Jesus longs for us to invite Him to come into our heart, so that He may transform us into His image.

But the expression «I stand at the door» doesn’t only refer to the door of our heart...
John 14:23
[Jesus said,] «If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our stay with him.»
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Picture 25 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Matthew 24:33 Comments
So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. By indicating that He stands at the door, Jesus also indicates that His return is really imminent!

This message is especially well suited to Laodicea, since it is the last church, that is, the church of the last days.
Luke 12:36
And you yourselves like to men that wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding; that when He comes and knocks, they may open to Him immediately.
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Picture 26 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:8 Comments
Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it. To the church of Philadelphia, Jesus had announced that He opened a door which no one could shut, symbolizing the spreading of the gospel throughout the whole world.

But He reminds Laodicea that He cannot force the door of our heart: it is up to each individual to open this door and let Jesus enter.
Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.

If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
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Picture 27 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:21,22 Comments
To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.

He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.
Jesus ends His letter to Laodicea with the promise to share His reign with him who overcomes, giving him access to His heavenly throne.

This also means that he who overcomes will be granted the power to judge the nations.
Revelation 20:4
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.
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Picture 28 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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He who overcomes will reign with Jesus and take part in the judgment:
«Truly I say to you, that you which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.» (Matthew 19:28)

«You are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. And I appoint to you a kingdom, as My Father has appointed to Me; that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.» (Luke 22:28-30)

«[God] withdraws not His eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yes, He does establish them for ever, and they are exalted.» (Job 36:7)
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Picture 29 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:17 Comments
You say, «I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;» and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. And now, what is the personal application of the letter to the church of Laodicea?

We really are in great danger when we cast a complacent look at our spiritual state...
James 1:22
Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
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Picture 30 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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Revelation 3:18 Comments
I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Jesus is coming quickly. To properly prepare ourselves, we need:
  • His faith (gold tried in the fire);
  • His righteousness (white raiment);
  • and His Holy Spirit (eye salve).
Let’s end this lesson with a summary of the letter to the church of Laodicea.
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Picture 31 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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The five points of the pattern in the letter to the church of Laodicea
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Picture 32 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 28
Letter to the Church of Laodicea
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We invite you to pray with us:
Our Father,

Your Son wrote to Laodicea, «Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.» (Revelation 3:20).

We really must open the door of our heart to Jesus right now, and let Him enter, because we need His faith, His righteousness, and His Spirit.

Please open our eyes, Heavenly Father, so that we stop feeling self-satisfied with our poor spiritual condition, and so that we begin to seriously prepare ourselves for the glorious return of Jesus Christ.

In His precious name we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 28 - Test The test of Lesson 28 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: Picture Collection «Corel Gallery Magic» by Corel, 1997, CD #7, Photo Library 1, 27032.PCD. Screen 2: «City of Laodicea». In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.23. Screen 3: Photo by KANERVA, Teuvo. In: «Conquérants Pacifiques» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Editions S.D.T., Dammarie les Lys, France, 1980, 512-a. Screen 4: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, Third Quarter, 1996, front cover. Screen 5: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (August 2000), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.25. Screen 6: HARLAN, Russell. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 5» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.92,93. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 7: MOLAN, Chris. In: «Forever Stories, volume 1» (BYERS, Carolyn), p.13. Used by permission. Copyright ©1990 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 8: In: «Adventist Review» (June 30, 2000), p.9. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©2000 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 9: In: «Awake» magazine (December 8, 1994), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 10: Photo by BLUE, Betty. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (February 2001), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.16. Screen 11: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 1, 1993), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 12: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.67. Screen 13: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 15, 1986), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.7. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 14: Photo by BLUE, Betty. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (February 1999), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.32. Screen 15: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM140.BMP. Screen 16: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 15, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 17: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.3. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 18: REMMEY, Paul. In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.188. Used by permission. copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 19: In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, First Quarter, 2000, front cover. Screen 20: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.69. Screen 21: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, Third Quarter, 1995, front cover. Screen 22: GREENE, Nathan. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (May 1999), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.21. Screen 23: OCHSNER, Dennis M. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (October 1999), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.7. Screen 24: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Vers Jésus» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Editions Le Monde Français, Pacific Press Publishing Association, front cover. Screen 25: Photo by CREWS, Dennis. In: «Ministry» magazine (December 1999), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, front cover. Screen 26: GREENE, Nathan. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (October 2000), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.18. Screen 27: In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.148. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 28: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (September 2000), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.25. Screen 29: HITCH, Jeffery. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (February 2000), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.17. Screen 30: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.104,105. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 31: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM059.BMP. Table of Screen 31: RUIZ, Eduardo. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (April 1995), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.6. Screen 32: Picture Collection «Corel Gallery Magic» by Corel, 1997, CD #8, Photo Library 3, 424023.PCD.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 28 - Test The test of Lesson 28 is waiting for you!