Monday, March 9, 2015

Revelation Chapter 14

SLIDE 1 Tuesday a.m. I received the call that my precious friend and lunch buddy had gone home to be with the LORD. As I pondered different reactions to the news I realized most seemed sad or sorrowful. After my Mother lay non-responsive for a week, I prayed for God’s mercy to take her home and take her from her failing tent of flesh. After a lingering disease like cancer, it is such sweet release to be absent from the body.  Lessie is now with her twin sister, Bessie, her son, husband and parents. Face to face with Jesus, what could be better! What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!
SLIDE 2  Revelation 14
1.     144,000 before the throne
2.     Messages of the Three Angels
3.     Harvest
The hour of God’s judgment has come.
We open chapter 14 in heaven with the lamb standing on Mount Zion surrounded by the 144,000. As with every other chapter in Revelation there can be differing interpretations. Since no one can be sure feel free to form your own opinion.
The first dispute was the location of Mount Zion: heaven or earth. I say heaven because the Lamb is there and 144,000 are singing before the throne.
Many teachers think the 144,000 are the same as chapter 7 which would be the 12,000 from the 12 tribes of Judah. Tim LaHaye believes chapter 14 describes a different group. The qualifiers in the first few verses are different from Ch.7.
         Name of Lamb and the Father on their forehead (not KJV) LaHaye feels the 144,000 of are Christians "purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb." This indicates that their selection was not for the propagation of the gospel on the earth during the Tribulation, but for a special position at the throne of God before Him and the Lord Jesus Christ.
         Pure( Greek  Parthenos virgin) and faithful (not bowing to the beast)
SLIDE 4  The word virgin here means chaste and is applied to men. Although celibacy is not taught in the Bible, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7: The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. Paul hinted in verse 7 that  “I wish that all were as I myself am.”  not married so you can devote your life to Christ.
         Follow the lamb everywhere (sold out to live only for Christ)
         Redeemed from the earth (purchased from many nations not just the Jews)
         Firstfruits of the Harvest of the earth (These were first born again by receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. They have been faithful in completely abandoning their will to the will of Christ during their lifetimes. It appears they have earned their position because of their faithfulness in doing whatever the Lord commissioned them to do.
         Blameless, not perfect -No lie in their mouth 1Thess.2:10  You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.
         Only ones to know the New Song
Each week Kim text me to tell her the songs I've chosen. Usually a song will enter my head as I do my study. Can you imagine the sound in heaven when the 144,000 are singing their new song? How hard is it for you to sing after suffering a loss?
SLIDE 5 Horatio Spafford prominent American lawyer invested in real estate north of an expanding Chicago in the spring of 1871 when the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ash and destroyed most of Spafford's sizable investment.  In 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday in England knowing that his friend D. L. Moody would be preaching there. He was delayed because of business, so he sent his wife and their four daughters ahead.
While crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship collided with a British iron clipper Loch Earn and 226 people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford's daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to her husband beginning "Saved alone." Spafford then sailed to England, passing over the location of his daughters' deaths. According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote the famous song "It Is Well with My Soul" on this journey. The hour of God’s judgment has come.
SLIDE 6 Messages of the three angels. Revelation 14:6-13
Throughout the gospels followers of Christ are told to spread God's story.  A command from Jesus to spread his gospel is known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Until now no angel has been given this task. By now most of the Christians have been martyred and are removed from the earth. However God is merciful and will give one last chance to anyone who has not taken the mark of the beast. This would have to be people hiding from the antichrist and his regime. Once they take the mark of the beast they cannot be redeemed from the earth. Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; man cannot serve God and the beast.
SLIDE 7 The first angel declares an eternal gospel message to every nation every tribe, language, and people. He shouts in verse 7 "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
This angel warns the people to fear God and to give glory to God instead of Antichrist. He must be talking to the faithful ones without the mark. Otherwise, he would be proclaiming a message of doom. The Greek word translated "gospel" (euangelion) literally means "good news." The only way we can offer people hope is to teach the eternal gospel-how to receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. A message concerning only the judgment of God offers no hope.
SLIDE 8  The Second Angel in verse eight tells us that Babylon has fallen with no details. A religious Babylon, the false religious system, takes place in the middle of the Tribulation. “Babylon" is symbolic of the world and its evil system. We will see more on that in chapter 17. If the angel is speaking of the literal city of Babylon, destruction of this is revealed in chapter 16.
SLIDE 9 The third Angel says with a loud voice "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,10 he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.11

SLIDE 10 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name." The hour of God’s judgment has come.

The "fire and brimstone" here is the very same as that which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Just as the angels saw Sodom burn, they are a witness to this as well. The Lamb (Jesus) is the Judge who speaks judgment. It not only will be in His presence, but He will order this punishment as well.
This "smoke" that comes up rises from the bottomless pit. You see this "torment" is not just for a short time and is over. This is FOREVER just as heaven is forever for the believers. This "torment" is forever.
SLIDE 11 12Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.13And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"
With perseverance the saints martyred for the Lord during the Tribulation. They will be blessed through rest, resurrection, and reigning with Christ during the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-6). They will receive a reward for their works of obedience.
SLIDE 12 The Harvest of the Earth vv.14-20. At first I believed  v.14 that the “one like a son of man” is Jesus himself is sitting on the white cloud with the golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle. Those who adhere to Mid-trib view see the first sickle as being the “rapture” of believers and the second harvest as a judgment of the lost.
In Matthew 3:12 John the Baptist speaks of Jesus 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

SLIDE 13 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe."16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

I don’t like to think of Jesus coming after me with a sickle. I also question whether an angel in v.15 has authority to give instructions to the Son of Man. Pre-tribulation view believes the “rapture” having taken place earlier and perceive both of these harvests referring to judgment of the lost. I really don’t know. Perhaps Michael the Archangel, often referred to as a prince would have a crown and swing a sickle. But either way, it is the second sickle that would cause alarm.
SLIDE 14 Moody Bible Institute's past president George Sweeting told about a student who was befuddled when his professor spoke about the pre-tribulation rapture, and the mid-tribulation, and the post-tribulation rapture; finally the student was in despair.  He folded his arms, sat down, and said, I.A.K.. And the professor said, What does that mean?  The student said, That means I am confused.   The professor said, Confused doesn't start with a 'K'.  The student replied, You don't know how confused I am. This episode of I love Lucy popped into my head as I studied the winepress.
Ladies, the more I study the more confused I get. But one day we will understand it better by and by. “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as also I am known.1 Corinthians 13:12-13
SLIDE 15 Look at Joel 3:13 on the slide. Today God is speaking to the world in grace, and men will not listen. One day he will speak in wrath. The bitter cup will be drunk, the harvest of sin reaped, and the vine of the earth cut down and cast into the wine press. The hour of God’s judgment has come.

SLIDE 16Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but One Day
Phil. 2: 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
SLIDE 17 There are numerous examples in the Old Testament. “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.” (Nahum 1:2)
Until I did a verse search for the cup of wrath and went through the gospel, I was too focus on who would receive the cup of God’s wrath, that I forgot Jesus had already taken the cup of God’s wrath, a cup that has accumulated the fury of God against sins of all types. Heinous crimes, adultery, careless words, dishonoring thoughts, lies — all of it will be punished by God
SLIDE 18 Jesus knew extent of this suffering. Mark 14:36   (ESV) And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
This is the cup Jesus drinks on the cross. There, at Golgotha, our Savior drained God’s cup of burning anger. God poured out his wrath, full strength, undiluted, onto his Son. Paul summarizes the meaning of this great event, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
SLIDE 19 Let us never forget the suffering that Jesus endured. As we celebrate the Easter season, remember Christ ask up to remember his death and resurrection. Share your faith with those that don’t understand how much the gift of salvation cost Him!

Will you choose to bow a knee and confess Jesus Christ is LORD before hour of God’s judgment comes?