Before the main narrative resumes with the bowl judgments, John fills us in on various details from various times, to help round out our understanding of Revelation…
Sometimes I think my kids believe things they see on YouTube a little bit too readily. They might watch some video that claims there's a sequence of buttons you can push on a soda machine to have hack it. And then you will magically get all the free soda that you want. And sometimes they find things and see things that they want to try on YouTube. And I have to tell them, guys, listen, there is no way that what that video is claiming is true.
There's just no way. It's almost as ridiculous as the claim that the book of Revelation is hard to understand because to that we say Twaddle for you see the word itself, revelation means something has been revealed. That's right. And the first words of this book tell us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised those who would take the time to read and respond to it a special blessing. And we find that blessing in Revelation chapter in verses three, let's claim it together. It says, Blessed is he or she who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things that are written in it for the time is near. But God knew there would still be those who would say, It's just too hard to understand. No one can understand this book.
So to make it easy to understand, he also included a simple and easy to follow outline. And we find that in Revelation chapter one, verse 19, where Jesus gives John these instructions. Firstly, John, I want you to write the things which you have seen that's the resurrected and glorified Jesus in chapter one. Secondly, John, I want you to write the things which are that refers to the Church age which is laid out chronologically and prophetically in order. In chapters two and three, the Church began around 32 ad and continues to the present day.
And then Thirdly, Jesus says, John, I want you to write the things which will take place after this, things which will unfold in the future after the Church age comes to an end and the Church age ends in Revelation chapter four verse is, Let me read it to you. John says, after these things I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard, that was the voice of Jesus in chapter one was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. And up John goes, serving as a picture of the Church who will be raptured to be with the Lord. And Jesus takes all of chapters four and five to show us the Church with Him in heaven before he begins pouring out wrath on the Earth.
In chapter six and in chapter six, verse 16, we learn that those on the Earth understand where their calamity is coming from because they identify it as the wrath of the Lamb. And in scripture, the Lamb speaks of whom Jesus. So chapter one introduces the focus of Revelation Jesus Christ. Chapters two and three take us through the Church age up to the present day. In chapter four, verses one, the Church is raptured up to heaven.
We see her in heaven with the Lord for chapters four and five safe and secure before wrath begins to be poured out in chapter six. And that wrath will continue for seven years, a time period known as the Tribulation. It will take up chapter six through chapter 19, after which Jesus will return to the Earth with his Saints in the event known as the Second Coming. And we'll hit on that a little bit today, actually, and there'll be even more revealed in the final few chapters of this amazing book. But here's what you need to know for now.
If you love Jesus, you belong to Jesus. Then your story, no matter what, will end with the words, and they live happily ever after. Before the chronological narrative of Revelation resumes in chapter 15, John the Apostle has been filling us in on some additional developments that will unfold in the Tribulation so that we have a Fuller understanding of the whole picture. In Revelation 13, we saw the emergence of Antichrist and his false Prophet. The implementation of the Antichrist cult and the infamous Mark of the beast will be in chapter 14.
Today, John has been filling us in on some big things, but in this chapter, it's written almost as if John is saying, you know what? There are a few other smaller things that I want to fill you in on. They're not in the flow of the narrative. They're not in chronological order, but they're just a few kinds of little details that are going to help round out your understanding of the Book of Revelation. So, write this down.
This chapter is parenthetical. It is parenthetical in that it contains multiple scenes from multiple points in time rather than one main incident or subplot. There are additional details in this chapter not laid out in any specific order given to us to enhance our understanding of the meta narrative. Our first scene unfolds at some point after the Tribulation, when Jesus is reigning on the Earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem. Let's read together in verse is John says, Then I looked and behold a Lamb.
Would you underline Lamb standing on Mount Zion, as you know by now, and as we said in our intro, the Lamb always speaks of Jesus and with him then underline this 1440 having his father's name written on their foreheads. These are the 144,000 Jewish men who were chosen by God to be powerful, effective, and immortal evangelists who will preach the gospel across the world in the Tribulation. In Revelation chapter seven, we saw them sealed by God. And here in Revelation chapter 14 we see 1440 of them standing with Jesus at the end of the Tribulation. Not 139,999, not 143,999, but 144,000 they all made it.
Jesus didn't lose even one. So, write this down. The 144,000 from chapter seven are all present at the end of the Tribulation. 144,000 from chapter seven are all present at the end of the Tribulation. And that brings me great comfort because in Ephesians One verses 13 and 14 Paul writes this about you and I saying in Him you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your Salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of his glory.
I get excited when I see the word guarantee associated with my Salvation. Jesus sealed the 144,000 and they all made it. Jesus has sealed you and I, and we're going to make it not because we're faithful, not because we won't mess up, but because we're sealed by the Lord. We will arrive in his presence one day. Nothing can change that.
The one who saved us is the same one who will sustain us. These 144,000 went through the worst tribulation the world will ever see, but it did not have the power to change the ending of their story. And here we see them at the finish line with Jesus. No matter how much tribulation life throws at you, your story will end with you meeting Jesus at the finish line. He guarantees it.
Jesus said in John Ten, My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father who's given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. What blessed assurance there is in the words of the Apostle Paul, who in Romans Eight said, I am persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And in Philippians one six, Paul writes that he is confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
The Bible declares that God is the one who began the work in you. God is the one who is doing the work in you, and God is the one who will finish the work in you. So when God says, you're going to make it, you're going to make it.
God declares that with total confidence because he is the one who is going to make it happen. That's how he knows it's going to happen. Praise God for our Salvation. This truth would have been a great comfort to John's readers. Around 95 Ad, they were facing persecution and death under Caesars, who hated Jesus being burned as human torches and fed to Lions.
But as they read about these 1440 who didn't compromise and were sustained by the power of Jesus through the greatest time of tribulation the world will ever see, they would have been filled with hope because this is the last time we'll see them. I'll mention this. The 1440, it appears, will enter the millennial Kingdom as human men. They will likely continue their evangelistic mission throughout the thousand years of Jesus'earthly reign, because while only redeemed human beings will enter the Millennium, they will have children and generations down the line. Some will grow up to not believe.
And we'll talk more about that in future chapters. But suffice to say, there will still be a need for gospel proclamation in the millennial Kingdom. Verse two. John says, And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters and like the voice of loud Thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their Harps.
John hears a song coming from heaven overflowing down to the Earth. Harps just refers to stringed instruments, meaning there would he people shredding on guitar in heaven. My apologies to those of you who are hoping for a return to organ only worship in the ages to come. But whatever the case may be, let's just be grateful that apparently there are no bagpipes in heaven. Verse three.
It says, they sang, as it were, a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. And we talked about those characters in detail back in Revelation chapter four, and no one could learn that song except 144,000 who were redeemed from the Earth. So apparently there's a specific song at this moment in time being sung in heaven and on the Earth. Only the 144,000 can join in that song. It seems like heaven is giving them a song to sing that is unique to their experience as the $144,000 during the tribulation.
Most of the world will want to kill the 144,000. We know they won't be able to because God is going to make them invincible for the duration of the tribulation. But remember, they will still be tasked with publicly preaching the gospel in the tribulation. It's not going to be an easy assignment. Everywhere they go, people will hurl abuse at them and try to kill them.
People will abuse and kill the few people who do respond to their preaching. And I think it's safe to assume that Satan will do everything he can to try and get these guys to fall into sin. And yet, after all that, when they're standing before Jesus, they're not whining. They're not saying, Lord, what was up with all that persecution? They're not saying, God, that was so hard?
No, they're singing. They're making music to the Lord. And the song they sing will be born of the sum of their experiences with Jesus. It's their song, not yours or mine. You and I will each have our own song to sing, so to speak.
And it too, will be born of the sum of our experiences with the Lord. And believe me when I tell you, we will sing that song and praise to the Lord at the top of our lungs. Well, how are the 144,000 able to complete such a trying task so joyfully? The same way Paul and Silas found the strength to sing songs of praise when they were in prison in chains. Please don't miss this, because I'm about to share with you one of the great truths about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives.
Write this down. God always provides the Grace that is needed for the calling. God always provides the Grace that is needed for the calling. When God calls you to take on a task he simultaneously makes available to you the Grace, the mercy, the strength, the peace, the joy, and the energy that you will need. Whatever is needed, he provides it.
When you're facing great difficulty, there is great Grace made available to you. When you are facing a little difficulty, there is a little Grace made available to you. In both instances, the Grace God gives is enough. It's enough to fill your spirit with a song, even in the darkness of a prison cell. And this can be a hard truth to accept because it means we can't complain to others and say, Well, I have a right to complain.
I have a right to grumble and moan. You don't know what I'm going through. If you did, you'd be complaining too! The reality is you might be going through something that I can't possibly understand. But here's what the Bible says. The Bible says the Lord understands it, the Lord sees it all, and he's made available to you the Grace you need to walk through that trial with joy.
But Jeff, if what you're saying is true, then I don't get to just look for sympathy from everybody. Exactly. Then I can't be mad when people don't respond to my attention seeking social media posts. Right?
Are you saying that my suffering isn't more significant than everybody else's? That's exactly what I'm saying. And it hurts me too, because you better believe I want your sympathy when I'm suffering and man colds are no joke, but I believe the Bible. And then I must believe that God's mercies are new every morning. And that means that he's made available the Grace that I need for today, the Grace that can find a song to sing, the song that only I can sing, no matter how difficult my circumstances.
And if you need to be encouraged in this, make lamentations through your jam. Just slow down for a moment. And let these verses Minister to your soul through the Lord's mercies. We are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says My soul, therefore I hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him. To the soul who seeks him, it is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord. My prayer is that to verses would describe our response to seasons of tribulation.
Instead of complaining and giving voice to every fear and doubt we have, may we hope and wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord, because in that stillness we discover the song that God is giving us. Have you ever had a brother or sister in Christ share a challenge or a problem with you and you had no idea what to say, no idea how to respond, no idea what to suggest or how to help? Can I just tell you what is always helpful in that situation to that brother or sister? Listening well, letting them know that you love them and then praying with them, praying with them, praying in faith and thanking God that he will provide everything that is needed, the Grace that is needed because we all need those reminders in those moments. And it is good to encourage each other in that truth.
You don't have to solve problems when you don't know what the solution is, but what we can all do is point each other to Jesus, pray with each other, encourage each other, and remind each other of the truths of God's Word, verse Four These are the ones who were not defiled with woman, for they are virgins. They are the ones that I love. This phrase who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. One of the defining characteristics of the 1440 write this down will be their radical purity, their radical purity in a world gleefully submitted to the lusts of the flesh, they will remain devoted to God and sexually righteous. I shared in our previous study how the Lord instructed his people to bind his commands between their eyes, on their forehead, and onto their hands, and I shared how they viewed this as representing agreement with God.
Ideologically and practically. It was a visual representation of every believer's desire to agree with God in our thinking and in our behavior. Back in verse is we read that the 144,000 have His Father's name written on their foreheads, and I believe that it points to one of the secrets of the 144,000 and how they will remain sexually pure in a deviant world. Their minds will be focused on the Lord and they will meditate on His Word. Because of sexual sin, many of us struggle with the mental side of the Christian walk because, yes, our sins are forgiven.
Yes, there's Grace for us, but our sins can leave us with mental scars and images that stick around for a long time. If you make a bad decision and watch something you shouldn't, God will forgive you. But those images and thoughts and ideas can seem to live on in our minds. Working against our desire to live in purity, we can't meditate on the things of God and simultaneously be filling our minds with the things of this world. Let's make sure we're being honest with ourselves about how we're wired so that we don't sabotage ourselves.
Let's take Psalm 101, verse three, to heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. Whatever you need to change, whatever you need to get rid of to make that happen, do it. Do it so that your mind can be focused on the things of God. Isaiah 26 three gives us this wonderful promise.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. When the Holy Spirit is convicting us of sin, but we refuse to repent. We don't sleep well. The Sinner's thoughts are restless, but the mind that trusts in the Lord finds peace. In most cases, the solution for our mental anguish is the simple truth of Isaiah 26 three.
If you're dealing with stress or worry or anxiety, take some time to just stop and honestly evaluate whether you're trusting the Lord. I know I need to do that regularly in my life. I found that the degree of worry and fear that I have about the future, for example, is directly related to how I'm doing at trusting the Lord. And yes, I understand that mental health and brain chemistry are real things. I understand that.
But what I'm saying is that we should always start by evaluating if we're trusting the Lord and His Word before we go immediately to counseling and medication. That should be the first thing we look at. Am I trusting the Lord? Am I believing the promises of Scripture? Am I filling my mind with his word?
How will the 144,000 stay pure? How will they not freak out from worry and stress in the tribulation by keeping their minds free of worldly things and focused on the things of God? And while we're on the subject of the 144,000 in their example, I feel I should remind us of another simple truth of the Christian life that we often forget. If we want to see God move through our lives, then we have to sanctify our lives. We have to make the decision to have our lives set apart for the Lord's purposes and glory because sin will stop the flow of God's power in our lives.
I speak from experience, as I'm sure we all can. But perhaps as you think that and you hear me say that, you find yourself thinking, Come on, Jeff, $144,000 are a special case. They've got special power to live righteously. Do they remember what Jesus said to his disciples before his ascension? He said in Acts one, eight you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.
And last time I checked, the Holy Spirit is available to you and me. The same Holy Spirit that operated in the disciples will operate in 144,000 and is available to us. But we must choose to live for the Lord before the test comes. If we put off living wholeheartedly for the Lord and think we'll just flick some sort of faith switch, when the moment of trial or temptation comes, we're delusional. We're delusional.
We need to choose Jesus now. General George S. Pastor Jr. Paraphrased Shakespeare when he famously quipped, Fatigue makes cowards of us all. When we're going through tribulation, it seems so easy to justify sin, right?
I deserve this. How else am I supposed to cope with this? Nobody can judge me because they don't know what I'm going through. When 1440 are tired or feeling the pressure of the tribulation, they won't run to any Antichrist, any idol. Their strength, power, authority, and energy will come from being intimately connected to Jesus, the vine that will make them fruitful.
John's readers needed this encouragement. They needed this word. They needed to be reminded that when tribulation hits our lives, we don't need to fear death or pain or suffering. We can have joy and peace amid it all if we will set our minds on Jesus. These were redeemed from among men being first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
Would you underline first fruits in the tribulation? The 1440 will be the first fruits. Fruits of what? Of the Jewish people. They will be the first Jews to turn to Jesus in the tribulation, the first of that final harvest of the Jewish people coming back to the Lord.
God's word tells us that ultimately all Israel will be saved through the tribulation. If you read the story of Israel's history and the scriptures, you'll find that she failed to fulfill her God given destiny because she kept getting entangled with the world's idols and sexual immorality, and usually both simultaneously. The 1440 will fulfill Israel's destiny to preach the gospel to all nations while remaining faithful to the Lord and set apart for him. They will be the first fruits in that sense. Also verse five and in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
These incredible men will live lives that will back up everything they're preaching. Think Joseph, think Daniel, think 144,000 of those. There won't be a hint of hypocrisy in them. They'll be the real deal in every sense of the phrase. Our next scene takes place around the halfway point of the tribulation as the whole Earth season.
Here is the declarations of three Angels. Their messages will be the final call to those on the Earth before the Mark of the beast. Is rolled out and everyone still alive is forced to make a decision between Antichrist and Yahweh. It says in verse is Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven. John sees this angel flying around our sky, basically having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the Earth, to every nation tribe tongue and people underlined, to every nation tribe tongue and people.
Before we get any further, there's a translation issue. We just need to deal with. The new King James, which I'm using employs the phrase those who dwell on the Earth. And we know that that phrase refers specifically to those on the Earth who have rejected Jesus and will never repent. But in the original Greek, that's not the phrase used here.
It should be rendered those who live on the Earth. And that's important because this angel is going to preach to everyone on Earth, including those who can and will choose to repent and follow Jesus. Many of us have probably heard someone say something like, The Bible teaches that when the gospel has been preached to every person on Earth, then Jesus will return. So we need to reach every single person on the Earth with the gospel. And when we do, then Jesus will return.
That idea comes from the words of Jesus in Matthew 20 414 where he says, and this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. And then the end will come. Jesus was talking about this moment in Revelation 14 six around the halfway point of the Tribulation, when an angel will fly across the skies preaching the gospel of the Kingdom to every nation, tribe, tongue and people. And when this happens, Jesus's stated criteria for the end to come will be met. So write this down.
This angel preaches the gospel to every person on Earth. This angel preaches the gospel to every person on Earth. And this will be his message in verses seven, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him for the hour of his judgment has come and worship him who made heaven and Earth, the sea and Springs of water, as we've talked about many times before. By this point in the Tribulation, things will be clear. The whole world will understand that this is the Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of Satan.
No apologetics will be needed, because when you're watching an angel preach from the sky, you don't think. But how do I even know that the supernatural world is real? What evidence is there? There's an angel in the sky preaching to you and everyone else is seeing it. Suffice to say, atheism will not survive the Tribulation.
When we share the gospel today, we can tell people that God has a plan for their life. He has things for them to do and that he is the best way to experience life on the Earth. The gospel this angel shares is significantly more succinct. He says, this is your last chance. Your Creator is about to judge the Earth, and when he does, you're going to want to be on his side.
So, give your life to Jesus. Right now, this angel lists four things people need to do to be saved. At this time, it's an all-encompassing list, and regardless of the time, anyone who does these things can be assured that they've sinned with Jesus. Number one, the angel says, fear God even more than the Tribulation, even more than Antichrist regime. The Word says that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and Jesus himself counseled his disciples, do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Secondly, the angel says, Give God glory. Don't give glory to any Antichrist. Thirdly, the angel says, Worship God. Direct your affections toward him, not earthly things. And then lastly, the angel says, you need to acknowledge God as the Creator.
He personally created you to know and love Him and be loved by Him. As we discussed in our previous study, God will go to incredible lengths to save people in the Tribulation. The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And we see God's heart displayed in his sending of this angel to preach the Gospel. Verse eight.
And another angel followed, saying, Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her. Fornication the use of the term Babylon here for the first time in Revelation can be a bit confusing because it is used in scripture to refer to something literal, something abstract, and sometimes both simultaneously. Literally, Babylon is a city located in the presentday country of Iraq. It is one of the most notable cities of antiquity, serving as the capital of empires and the cultural center of the world for centuries. In the abstract, Babylon refers to the world system.
All the systems established by the world's current ruler. Satan, economic, governmental, spiritual, sexual, entertainment, values, all of secularism. They are all, in the abstract sense, Babylon. This Angel's declaration here in chapter 14 comes partially from Isaiah chapter 21, verses nine, which prophesied the idols of literal Babylon being destroyed. This Angel's declaration here is a proletic statement destined to be fulfilled in chapter 17 and 18 and ultimately at the second coming.
It will be a shocking statement to those on the Earth, not only because it will be made by an angel, but because it will appear to them at this time that Antichrist's Empire is an unstoppable force. At this moment in the Tribulation, he will have more power than any man on Earth since Adam has ever had. But this angel will declare its destruction is inevitable, and it's already almost here. We'll study Babylon in greater detail when we reach those two chapters in the next few weeks. Verse nine, then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, how loud?
Well, loud enough for every single person on Earth to hear. If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his Mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The idea is that those who reject Jesus will experience the full wrath of God, not anything watered down or restrained. I know many believers don't ever read the Book of Revelation because there's some rumors out there that it's hard to understand.
But I also know that many don't want to touch it or the subject of eschatology because they've read or heard a few snippets that have left them thinking, wow, God can be incredibly harsh and cruel, but to that person I would simply say, Read your Bible, read your Bible. Revelation tells us that the Lord will send Angels to specifically warn people not to take the Mark of the beast, but most will still choose to do it. Even those who are arrogant enough today to say, I'll believe it when I see it will be without excuse. God says, don't take the Mark or you'll be damned. People say, I'm going to take the Mark anyway.
God says, well, then you're damned. And people say, I always knew you weren't a loving God. I honestly don't know what else God could do to make things clearer. Verse eleven and the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night who worship the beast in his image and whoever receives the Mark of his name. The first phrase is similar to Isaiah 34, nine and ten, which details God's destruction of Edom.
The idea in both cases is that the systems of the wicked are destroyed and will never be rebuilt again. I know you're probably thinking that there's not really an encouraging bit of scripture, Jeff, but the reason I want to bring it to your attention is because this is one of those places in the Bible that makes it clear that those who reject God will spend eternity in a very real place where they will have no rest forever. They will not simply cease to exist. They will not get a second chance to work out their Karma or graduate from purgatory. It's a tragic reality that Satan will drag many with them into eternal destruction by convincing them of what they desire to believe - that such a future cannot exist.
But the Bible clearly tells us otherwise. Jesus said in Matthew 13, The Son of man will send out his Angels and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then later, in that same chapter in Matthew 13, he says, The Angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus wanted everyone to understand the reality of eternity.
In fact, Jesus talked more about Shiol, Gehenna, and Hades than he did about heaven during his earthly Ministry. Those who belong to Jesus will experience eternal life. Those who reject Jesus will experience eternal death. And I would not be loving you well if I did not share that truth with you plainly. So make a note of this verse.
Eleven makes it clear that those who reject Jesus will not simply cease to exist. They will not simply cease to exist. And like you, when I hear that I'm disturbed, we should be. We feel apologetic for the reality of eternity. But we shouldn't, because the very concept of Salvation presupposes our damnation.
It presupposes that there is something we need saving from. We shouldn't apologize for the reality of sin and death because the glory of the gospel is how God responded to the reality of our damnation. He responded by doing the unthinkable to save us, laying down his life. If we don't actually need saving, then the cross was just ultimately a pointless attempt at some sort of morality-based performance art. But we did need saving.
We do need saving, and the reality of eternal death is what necessitated the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection. We should not be embarrassed or ashamed by the reality of sin and death, because the glory of the gospel is what the Lord did to save us from death.
Do you know why there isn't an angel flying across the sky preaching the gospel today? Because for now, preaching the gospel is our job. It's a task that Jesus has given to the Church that we might have an opportunity to participate in his work and store up treasures in heaven. But people won't listen to me. Most people won't listen to this angel either, so don't feel bad about yourself.
Most people didn't listen to the Apostles or the prophets or even Jesus. Listen, when the Church was born on Pentecost in Acts Chapter Two, there were 120 people gathered together and praying in the upper room. Three years of full time Ministry by the Son of God in the flesh on the Earth managed to produce 120 people. That's it. So don't be discouraged.
Preach the gospel anyway, because from that 120 have come. Billions of believers preach the gospel anyway, because for now, it's our job. Before anybody takes the Mark of the beast, these Angels fly across the skies preaching the gospel and warning everyone to ally themselves with Jesus and refuse the Mark again. Nobody is going to take the Mark unwittingly or unwillingly. Sadly, the overwhelming majority will take it anyway because, as John wrote, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
But we shift scenes again now, and our next scene is of comfort for those on the Earth who will turn to Jesus in the tribulation and be martyred for his name's sake. It says in verses twelve. Here is the patience of the Saints. Here are those who keep the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. When you and I become believers, we join Jesus in the mission he's given to the Church, preaching the gospel, and making disciples.
In contrast, those who become believers in the tribulation are given a different task. Persevere all Jesus asks of them is to keep the faith even to death. And the comfort of these verses is God's promise that he will sustain the faith of those who belong to him no matter what happens until they arrive in his presence. As the next verse will reveal, death is actually the best thing that can happen to a believer in the Tribulation. In verse 13, John says, Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Right, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them. If you're a believer in the tribulation, death will be a blessing because your tribulation will be over. While we can take encouragement from these verses, that's another one that's not really for us. It's written to reassure those who will turn to Jesus in the tribulation. Things will be so crazy and intense they'll need reassuring, and so Jesus reassures them with this verse.
This part of Jesus promise, though, is true for every believer who dies before the Rapture and during the tribulation that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them. Everyone who loves Jesus has an eternity waiting for them in which there's no more labor, no more work. We'll have things to do, but they won't be laborious. They'll only be a joy. It's going to be so good.
And don't you love what this verse is saying about the works of those who belong to the Lord? It's telling us that the only thing that leaves the Earth with us are the work we did for the Lord and praise God for that, because I'll be more than happy to leave everything else behind. This is why Paul wrote, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If the Lord allows me to wake up tomorrow, I'll have another opportunity to serve the Lord on the Earth and store up treasures in heaven. If I die before tomorrow morning comes, then my work is over.
I'll rest for eternity, and I'll have treasures in heaven waiting for me. Because of the cross. Life or death is a win-win situation for the believer. Now, our next scene there are a lot of different views regarding verses 14 through 20. I'll share my conclusions, but as always, you do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
Verse 14 Then I looked and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of man. Underline that on the cloud sat one like the Son of man, having on his head a Golden Crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. If you read Daniel seven, verses 13 and 14, you'll find that this is unquestionably Jesus preparing to return to the Earth as its conquering King, indicated by the Crown that he's wearing. It's a Stefanos, not a diadem. It's a Victor's or a Conqueror's Crown rather than a Royal Crown.
Verse 15 and another angel came out of the temple, the temple in heaven, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud thrust in your sickle and reap for the time has come for you to reap, for the harvest of the Earth is ripe. Now why does it say another angel? It's because the Son of man, Jesus is also the angel of the Lord, who appears on the Earth at various moments throughout the Old Testament. And when you examine the original language, it's clear that this other angel is not commanding Jesus. He's announcing what Jesus is about to do.
He's serving as a Herald, so to speak. Verse 16 So he who sat on the cloud that's Jesus thrust in his sickle on the Earth and the Earth was reaped. Some scholars believe that this reaping refers to the seven bold judgments which will begin in chapter 15. But there's some confusion because reaping is used in Scripture as an idiom for both wrath and Salvation. I look at the verse that preceded this verse 13, and I see God comforting Tribulation Saints by saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
And so for that reason, I personally believe that this is referring to a final harvest of Gentiles, the last non Jews who will be saved in the great Tribulation. We know that such a number exists. Paul described it as the fullness of the Gentiles. And Interestingly, Paul said that number must be reached before Israel's spiritual blindness can be lifted. When will that happen?
When Jesus appears to them at the second Coming. So before the end of the Tribulation, before the second Coming, there will be a Gentile who will be the last Gentile ever saved. So write this down. Verses 14 through 16 likely depict Jesus reaping the final Gentile salvations, the final Gentile Salvation.
And then, sorry, I'll continue. When the final Gentile has been saved. All that remains for those who have rejected Jesus is to drink the infamous grapes of wrath. Verses 17 Then 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 who had power over fire.
This seems to be the angel charged with overseeing the altar of incense in heaven, where we saw the prayers of the Saints collected in chapter eight, verses three through five. And he's announcing that God has decreed time for this prayer to be answered. Your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. And he cried with a voice sorry, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the Earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. So the angel thrust his sickle into the Earth and gathered the vine of the Earth and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
And the wine press was trampled outside the city and blood came out of the wine press up to the horse's bridles for 1600 furlongs. Clearly we're talking about a harvest of wrath in this instance and keeping our focus on the big picture. This appears to be looking ahead to the famous Battle of Armageddon. Write that down. Verses 17 through 20 appear to depict the Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming.
The Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming. We know from the rest of scripture that the city in verses 20 is Jerusalem. This event will unfold about 60 miles north of Jerusalem on the plain of near Mount Magido, because the Lord will protect the Holy city from military destruction. At this point in the message I was going to say, as unbelievable as it sounds, but I don't really know that anything sounds unbelievable by this point in our study of Revelation. But as unbelievable as it sounds, Antichrist, the false Prophet and all the military, human and demonic forces under Satan's power will be gathered in Magedo and will turn their weapons against Jesus when he returns to the Earth.
It will not go well. Imagine harvesting grapes with a sickle. Nobody would ever do that, because if you don't harvest grapes by hand with the twisting motion, you'll crush and burst them. If you use a sickle, it's going to be a mess and this is going to be a bloody mess. If you're paying attention, you might be realizing that the term battle in the phrase Battle of Armageddon is a misnomer.
There is no battle, only an annihilation. The Old Prophet Testament Joel prophesied about this time writing, Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, go down, for the wine press is full, the vats overflow for their wickedness is great. Multitudes in the Valley of Decision for the day of the Lord is near in the Valley of Decision. And so the idea through circumstances that we'll talk about another time is that all these wicked people who hate Jesus so much that they want to oppose him militarily are going to be gathered together in the Valley of Magido like grapes being gathered in a wine press, and the decision that they make to side with Satan will be the end of them. They will be crushed like grapes in a wine press.
Look again at the disturbing observations of verse 20. And the wine press was trampled outside the city and blood came out of the wine press up to the horse's bridles for 1600 ferlons. Does this mean that there will literally be blood 4ft deep over an area of hundreds of square miles? Well, probably not. It more likely means that the blood of people dying will spray up to the height of 4ft to the height of a horse's bridle.
As I said, it's going to be a bloody mess. And sorry, there's not really any way for me to get around that. That's what the text says. The blood spilled by the second harvest, so to speak, will cover a distance of 1600 furlongs. A Furlong is about 600ft, making this distance around 176 miles.
I think the most likely explanation is that some men will flee when they see what is happening, and the casualties will end up strewn across that distance. And guess what city is located 1600 furlongs from the Valley of Magido? Petra. And another name for Petra is Basra. And it was used by Isaiah when he prophesied, who is this who comes from Edom with dyed garments from Basra, this one who is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength.
I, who speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Why is your apparel red and your garments like one who treads the wine press? And so it seems to be a possibility that as Jesus returns at the second Coming, a bunch of stuff is going to happen pretty quickly. But perhaps he has just appeared and revealed himself to the Jews, the Jewish remnant who he's been protecting in Petra. And then he goes to confront the forces of Satan and Antichrist in the Valley of Magido.
And as they flee from him, they flee toward Petra along that main highway, and they are killed all along the way across that full distance. And so the answer to Isaiah's question, who is this? Is, of course, Jesus. Jesus is the one who will be treading this wine press and completely annihilating the enemies of God at Armageddon. The blood of this battle will likely flow in Rivers that exist today from the Valley of Magido down into Jordan's Rift Valley past Jerusalem, and will travel 176 miles all the way toward Petra.
We will unpack these things in greater detail in the coming weeks. There's so much great stuff coming that I had to restrain myself from giving away too much in this message. I'll say this to wrap up. The purpose of animal sacrifices under the old Covenant was to teach Israel and us that sin always creates an effect. There's always a consequence.
And the Bible tells us what it is. It says the wages of sin is death. Those sacrifices pointed to the reality that only blood could cover our sins, and ultimately it all pointed to Jesus and the precious blood that he would he shed in our place. This chapter reminds us of the reality that there is no neutral ground. I will either receive the wages of death for my sins or accept the glorious offer Jesus made to receive those wages in my place.
Right now, each of us has made a choice to either be judged by Jesus or saved by Jesus. There are no other options. Physical death is the separation of the Spirit from the body, but spiritual death is the separation of the Spirit from the presence of God. And I don't think anybody is prepared for the gravity of what that actually means. If you've not taken your place in the family of God, please choose him now.
Know where you stand.
If you're facing tribulation difficulty of any sort, remember the promise of Isaiah 26 three. You will keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Choose faith and thank Jesus that he's got you. He's got you, and then meditate on that thought and sleep well tonight. Enjoy the deep rest of a man or woman who understands that the God of the universe is with them through the Lord's mercies.
We are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. The Lord is My portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord. Would you buy your head? Close your eyes. Let's pray together. Jesus, thank you for Your word.
And thank you that you want us to have understanding about your future plans. And thank you that though the wages of sin is death, you did something nobody could have foreseen. You paid those wages with your own life in our place. And so, Jesus, we thank you that we have been adopted through Your work, through Your life, through Your death, and through Your resurrection into your Father's family. Thank you that you have made us, your brothers and sisters through Your blood on the cross.
And we thank you that You've sealed us, and that nothing that happens between now and the moment we arrive in Your presence can change the fact that we will arrive in Your presence one day. And it will be so good we cannot wait for that moment. So in the meantime, empower us. Help us to lean on your spirit and rely on Your spirit for everything we need to live lives that are set apart for you, for Your glory, for the proclamation of the gospel, and for making disciples. Lord, help us to fulfill the work You've given us to do as individuals and collectively.
As your Church we love you Jesus bless you and we thank you that you never leave us you never forsake us in your name. We pray Amen.