Monday, August 16, 2021

The Epistle of Jesus #12: Voices of Victory - Revelation 14-15

 The Epistle of Jesus #12: Voices of Victory - Revelation 14-15

Power Point Link

Video Link
MS Word Doc Link

Introduction:  The voices of victory and wrath. In the chapters we will cover this morning the word voice or voices is used 11 times. It is all part of the great announcement, the proclamation, the exclamation of God’s victory. In Rev 14:6-20, we hear the voice of Angels. In Revelation 15-14, we hear the song of the victors and in Revelation 16 we hear the voice of finality, “It is done!”

Setting the Stage (Review) Let’s begin by setting the stage for these chapters.
Tribulation begins: The seven seals have been opened. There has been war, famine, scarcity, and pestilence that followed those four horsemen of the apocalypse. Through these global catastrophes, a single great ruler rises from the 10 strongest nations in Europe, the Revived Roman Empire. He destroys or conquers three of those nations, those kings, and the world sees him as their savior. Even the nation of Israel thinks that he could be their messiah when he gives them a covenant of peace.

Midpoint: Then sometime just before the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation, this great leader, that we know is not the savior, but the anti-Christ killed. The Bible says he receives a wound unto death. Then in what appears as a miracle he rises from the pit, from the abyss, from Hell, or so it seems. When this happens, he kills the two witnesses, the olive branches of God, the abomination of desolation, probably the image of the beast created by the false prophet, is set up in the most holy place of the Temple and the people of God seeing this is not their Messiah begin to flee for their lives.
The Seven Trumpets During this time in heaven the seven trumpets are blowing, bringing terrible natural disasters on the earth. Hail and electrical storms race across the world, burning up or smashing down 1/3 of the forests and grass. A great fiery mountain falls into the sea, a meteor or explosion from a volcano and 1/3 of the sea becomes like blood, 1/3 of the ships are destroyed and 1/3 of all sea life is killed. Then within no more than a few weeks a great star called Wormwood falls from the heavens and destroys 1/3 of all the fresh water supply. Because of all these terrible fires, these asteroids, comets or volcanoes, whatever natural disasters God uses, dust and water vapor are thrown into the atmosphere and the  the sun, moon and stars are darked and lose 1/3 of their brilliance.

The demonic deluded world blames God and God’s people for all that has happened and in response the mass killings of believers become a global obsession and goal. Satan now has his anti-Christ, his puppet, on the throne of the world and the world is forced to worship the Beast, as if he were God. Finally, Satan has the adoration, the worship that he has always been striving, deceiving, killing and lying for. The world lifts its voice in one great united cry of hate and blasphemy. But just as that Satanic chorus sound, the voices of heaven shout out in victory, and when they finish their shouts of praise, the choir of Hell will be forever silent.

The Voices of the Angels - Revelation 14:6–20
Six Angels Shout

The First Angel Voice Preaches The Gospel Vs. 6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

This angel is seen flying the Bible says in the midst of heaven. That term in the Greek is very descriptive, in the midst, is in the middle of heaven. Midheaven refers to the apex of the sun at noonday, to the point in the sky when the sun has reached its meridian, its highest point. And at this highest height this angel will fly and sound his voice. As the world revolves from night to day and as noon hits everywhere upon the earth this angel will shout in a loud voice, “Fear God. Give glory to Him for Judgment is come. Worship Him that made heaven and earth, the sea and fountains of water.”  

To this sin-soaked world, hearing that there is a true God, a true creator should be good news. Hearing that judgment is coming but there is still time to repent should be good news. The Gospel preached by this earth orbiting angel is the same gospel, the same good news that has been preached from the Garden of Eden to the arenas of Rome. It is the same Gospel that can turn us from creatures doomed to the wrath of God to children of God who sing His praises. One last chance, to hear and believe the angel’s voice cries out, but the those on earth refuse and God’s last judgment inexorably proceeds.

Next we see in vs 8…

The Second Angel who Proclaims the Fall of Babylon vs. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Though this angel proclaims the Fall of Babylon here, it is such a momentous event that it is taken back up again in chapter 17. We will only deal with this question here. Why Babylon, why this city was chosen to be the symbol of God’s wrath upon the oppressors and persecutors of God’s people?

In Genesis 10:8-10 we read, “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

The original Babylon was a city founded by Nimrod, the mighty hunter before God. This word hunter means, champion, warrior, conqueror. Nimrod founded the first world empire by becoming a “hunter of souls.” He earned that title before God by creating the  first pagan religion from which all other paganism has sprung, like poison streams running from a poison spring. Nimrod crowned his empire by building the tower of Babel, trying to reach the heavens, trying to make man like gods. The tower was the focal point of the empire and paganism was the faith that tried to make men into gods.

Babylon became the cradle of idolatry and when God scrambled their languages, they took their pagan gods and belief system with them.

In the Book of Genesis we are shown the beginning of the world and the beginning of paganism and now here in Revelation we are at the end of the world and the destruction of the city that birthed paganism. We have come full circle, the birthplace of false worship, will be the deathbed of the false messiah and the false prophet. Babylon will fall, both the city and the God hating, Christ denying, demon worshipping system it represents.

Listen to this prophecy in Jeremiah it has a double fulfillment, once in the Babylon of his time and once again in the Babylon of the Anti-Christ’s time and shows God’s hatred for Babylon and all it spawned.

Jeremiah 51:6-9 Flee out of the midst of Babylon,
and deliver every man his soul:
be not cut off in her iniquity;
for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance;
he will render unto her a recompence.
Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand,
that made all the earth drunken:
the nations have drunken of her wine;
therefore the nations are mad.
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed:
howl for her;
take balm for her pain,
if so be she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed:
forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country:
for her judgment reacheth unto heaven,
and is lifted up even to the skies.

The Third Angel Sounds the Final Warning vs. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

The third angel then tell us why those who have received the mark of the beast cannot be redeemed, cannot be saved, cannot have any hope.

Revelation 14:10-11 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

The worshippers of the anti-Christ, the beast, have by their own choice, drunk deeply from the Devil’s cup of immorality and blasphemy directly from the hand of the Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Now God will pour down their unwilling throats, the cup of His wrath.
This imagery is drawn from the old testament and is the final fulfillment of all those OT prophecies of God’s wrath.

In Psalms 75:7-8 it says,  But God is the judge:
he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red;
it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same:
but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

Jeremiah 25:15-16 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.

Pay close attention to the qualifying statement of the angel in verse 11. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

It is a horrible thing to hear of Hell and its eternal punishment. It is not a subject that any preacher should love to preach about. It is not something that we should rejoice that anyone will go there. But as horrid, painful and abhorrent as it is, it is nevertheless fully, unconditionally, 100% true. It is an absolute reality, and it is absolutely an eternal suffering and torment.

What Jesus Said about Hell You ask how can you believe such at thing? Well I believe it because Jesus taught it. Jesus gives up more detail about Hell than all the other prophets of the Bible combined. Jesus tells us that hell is a place as Mark 9:46 says, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

It was Jesus who warned us in Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”

It was Jesus who opened a window into hell and let us see the rich man who died and was sent there to suffer. In Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…

The third Angel doesn’t finish his message on the warning of hell, instead he sounds a note of encouragement to the persecuted saints of that day. Vs. 12 “Here is the patience (the word means the perseverance, the endurance) of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

The angel tells them hold on because God’s righteous judgment is coming. Hold on, God has not forgotten you. Hold on, God has not overlooked the persecutors of his beloved. Hold on, God’s wrath is ready to be poured out like a boiling acid upon a world filled lovers of false gods and haters of the true God. The true God has not forgotten and His wrath is coming.

The Voice of Promise

Now at that last phrase we hear another voice not the voice of an angel. This voice sounds from heave and it is the Voice of Promise vs. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

It is written for them who will be enduring the worst persecution that God’s people have ever endured, but it should be applied to all of God’s children throughout the ages who have died believing the promises of their Lord. They will have rest from their labor and that which they did for the Lord in this life will follow them into eternity. It will be true for those future saints and never forget it is true for us, his saints today.

The Fourth Angel of  Harvest Homecoming vs. 14
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

Two Harvests There are two harvests that take place in Revelation 14, this harvest in vs.14 is preceded by the promise of rest to those who die during the tribulation. This first harvest is also carried out not by an angel but one sitting upon the white cloud who looked like the son of man. This can only be Jesus and this harvest is not a harvest of wrath as the next one will be, but it is a harvest of homecoming. This is Jesus taking his people, his believers, his saints out of the world that is now a place fit only for the wrath of God. This harvest by Jesus brings his own home. It is not the rapture, it is death and dying but it is the final time those saints will ever suffer or fear. “he that sat on the cloud has thrust in his sickle and the earth was reaped.” God’s people come home in this harvest.

The Fifth and Sixth Angels of Fire and the Winepress of Wrath vs. 17 – 20 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Two angels are next seen but only one cries out. The first angel come out of Heaven’s temple, directly from the presence of God, where the golden censor of the prayers of the saints was taken and cast down into the earth. This angel come forth and he carries a “sharp sickle”

As we see him standing there with his gleaming, sharpened blade, we hear the voice of the angel of fire. Probably the angel we will read about in a moment who carries the bowl that will scorch the earth when it is poured out. This fire angel gives the word, “Thrust in they sharp sickle, and gather the cluster of the vine of the earth, for her grape are fully ripe.”

The angel of the sickle reaps the earth, which now only contains the worshippers of the anti-Christ and those reaped are not taken home but instead are cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And we are given a detail that will come back to us later when we see the Battle of Armageddon. “ the winepress was trodden outside the city, (Jerusalem) and blood came out deep as the bridle of a horse (around 4 feet deep) and flowing a thousand and six hundred furlongs (200 miles long.) If this sounds impossible just remember that when Jesus returns he will slay the armies of the beast, an army that was measured over 200 million soldiers. He will slay that army with the sword of his mouth, the Bible says, in other words. Jesus will destroy that massive army with one single word from his mouth. When it happens it will be like a great sythe, a deadly sharp sickly sweeping from one end of that army to the other and the blood that will flow from that great army, slain in a single instance as if from a single blade, will easily flow 4 feet deep and stretch for 200 miles.

We get an insight into this last battle from Isaiah 63:1-6
Who is this that cometh from Edom,
with dyed garments from Bozrah?
this that is glorious in his apparel,
travelling in the greatness of his strength?
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel,
and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
I have trodden the winepress alone;
and of the people there was none with me:
for I will tread them in mine anger,
and trample them in my fury;
and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments,
and I will stain all my raiment.
For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
And I will tread down the people in mine anger,
and make them drunk in my fury,
and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

The battle of Armageddon is yet to come in the Book of Revelation but it is mentioned here in prospect because of what John sees next in chapter 15.

The Voice of the Victors Revelation 15:1–4
1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. 5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Throne Room to War and Trophy Room

John sees several wonders, several signs in heaven. We are seeing the throne room of God turned into a war room and a trophy room in this passage. He sees in Vs. 1 The Sign of the Seven Avenging Angels carrying the last seven plagues that will complete God’s wrath, then in vss 2-6 he sees Saints Standing On A Sea of Glass and Singing, finally in vss. 6-8 he sees the temple of God opened and the seven avenging Angels sent out with bowls filled with the wrath of God.

First John seems to catch just a glimpse of the seven angels before his attention is caught by something he has not seen until now.  He comes back to the angels in vs 5. But first he describes this amazing sight. Revelation 15:2 a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Now you don’t see that everyday.

What does this symbolism it mean, what does it tell us and the future saints?

The clue is in the songs they sing, the song of moses and the song of the lamb. In Exodus 15 we find the Song of Moses as it was sung by the Hebrew children after they had passed through the Red Sea and saw Pharoah’s army drowned.

The Song of Moses Exodus 15:1-2 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying,
I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously:
the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and song,
and he is become my salvation:
he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

They had passed through the sea led by a pillar of fire and now John sees the tribulation saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire, lifted above the flood and the flame of persecution.  The also sing the song of the lamb, telling us that these are not just Jewish believers, but are also saints of all nations, tribe and tongues who also were harvest home in the last chapter by the lamb, the son of man himself. And so in voices of Victory, they sing both songs standing on that glassy, fiery sea that can no longer harm them.

I can’t help but wonder what the song of the lamb might be. There is a song that only the 144,000 can sing, but this song is not that song. This is a song of the ages, this is the song of the redeemed, this is the victors voices lifted in glorious sound that will out sing even the songs of the angels.

These are the last of the God’s saints coming home. They refused to bow to the Beast, the refused to worship the image of the false prophet, they refused the mark of damnation. It will cost them everything, it will cost them their families, their friends, their jobs, their very existence and subsistence on this earth. In the end at that great homecoming harvest it will cost them their lives. Will it be worth such loss and pain and sorrow? Will it?

Look there with John’s eyes and find the answer, “Revelation 15:2-4 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” They sing, they sing not in sorrow or loss but they sing in victory, they sing in joy, they sing in triumph.

I wish we could hear the song, listen to the cresending notes of such a pure, flawless song empowered and inspired by all they have experience, endured and overcome. We can’t hear the tune, but we can hear the words for John recorded them.

The Song of the Lamb Vs. 3-4 “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

This will be the fulfillment, the climax of all the songs that have honored God and his majesty from the beginning of time. From the first song sung on the dawn of creation by the angels as the watch God speak the universe into existence, to all the Psalms from 1 to 150. It will incorporate into its melody and rhythm every hymn written down from the by the first believers in the church of Jerusalem to every Isaac Watts, John Newton, Fanny J. Crosby, Ira Stanphill, John Peterson, Chris Tomlin and Keith Getty. It will be like singing from the Baptist, American, Heavenly Highways and Celebration Hymnals all at the same time. It will be “Great and marvelous”

Aren’t you glad that John didn’t add, “A song only they can sing?” I am because I believe that once they start that song, singing of Moses and the Lamb. They we will be able to join in. We will know ever word and the melody will be a part of our heart, our life our soul. We will sing that song with voice of victory because we will be overcomers in our own right through the power and grace of the lamb of God.

Conclusion: We can’t sing the song of Moses but we can sing a song of the lamb. Lets all stand and sing our own song of the lamb to close this morning. May it reflect our own joy and victory through Jesus our Savior.

There is a Redeemer.
There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

No comments:

Post a Comment