Delete Button

By: Lysa Terkeurst, lightsource.com

Jeremiah 10:23-24 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.24 O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

Recently, I had someone ask me whether or not I like working with editors.

It’s a good question, really. The best way to see whether a writer has the reader’s best interest at heart or simply a desire to marvel at their own creation, is to ask this question.

I’ve written 18 books. But, I was just as desperate for my editor’s input on book number 18 as book number 1. Why? Because the editor saves me from myself. He sees things I miss. He strengthens me where I’m fragile with my words.

Last summer, I sat in front of book number 18 and realized it was the first time I had written this book. So, in that sense, I was a first-time writer working on assignment number 18. I was desperate for my editor’s wisdom. So, yes, I love editors and greatly appreciate their wise use of the delete button.

As a matter of fact, I wish I had an editor and a delete button in daily life. Wouldn’t it be great?

Just as I start to get all worked up about something, I would feel this tap, tap, tap on my shoulder. There he would be, my editor, holding out the delete button encouraging me to backspace my words and come at this situation with a truer reflection of who I am. He wouldn’t yell or demand I hit the delete button. He would just remind me it’s an option.

Sounds a little like the Holy Spirit, doesn’t it? He doesn’t yell or demand, but I would do well to recognize His tap, tap, tap on my heart. He reminds me of how good it is to claim a do-over and make use of the delete button in life, whether it’s with my words or with my decisions.

This subtle tap, tap, tapping makes me think of Jeremiah’s prayer, “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.”

I need to be corrected. And reminded that making new choices that follow His plan are my option.

And a very good option at that. An option a girl should take. Though I’ve been a Christian for many years, I can’t ever coast on my past good choices. I must realize, it’s the first time I’ve ever lived this day.

And today is so very rich with possibilities. So many opportunities to make choices that will take me down one of two paths. Either I will travel the path of becoming more like Christ … or the one of becoming less like Christ.

We make our choices. And then our choices make us.

So, since it’s the first time I’ve lived this day, I can choose to be the kind of wife and mom I desperately want to be.

Since it’s the first time I’ve lived this day, I can choose to be the kind of friend I desperately want to be.

Since it’s the first time I’ve lived this day, I can choose to … well, you get the point.

It’s at this juncture in my writing, where my editor would surely pop in with his wise use of the delete button and save you from my belaboring.

All that to say, today is not just another part of a long string of days past. Today is a first. A true, true first.

So, how will you make good use of this first day?

 

 

Friday Funnies

SPEED STOP

A police officer in a small town stopped a motorist who was speeding down Main Street.

“But officer.” the man began, “I can explain!”

“Just be quiet,” snapped the officer. “I’m going to let you cool your heels in jail until the chief gets back…”

“But officer, I just wanted to say….”

“And I said to keep quiet! You’re going to jail!”

A few hours later the officer looked in on his prisoner and said, “Lucky for you that the chief is at his daughter’s wedding. He’ll be in a good mood when he gets back.”

“Don’t count on it,” answered the fellow in the cell. “I’m the groom.”

OLD TRUCK?

A Texas rancher comes upon a farmer from Maine. The Texan asks, “Say, how much land you think you got there?”

Mainer: “About 10 acres I’d say.”

Texan (boasting): “Well, on my lot, it takes me all day to drive completely around my property!”

Mainer: “Yep, I got one of them trucks, too.”

Bible Study

THE PREPARATION FOR THE  JUDGMENTS  Revelation 15:1-8

The Revelation is a book of contrasts, as we move through the book, we are taken back and forth between Heaven and the earth. We are allowed to witness scenes of joy in the heavens and we are confronted with scenes of judgment on the earth. In the heavens you see scenes of worship. On the earth, you see scenes of wrath.

      In this chapter we are once again taken into Heaven. In these eight verses, which comprise the shortest chapter in the Revelation, we are allowed to see a vision of Heaven as God prepares for His final judgment of the tribulation earth. There has already been great suffering as the judgment of God has been unleashed on the earth. When these judgments are poured out on the earth, they serve to increase the agony of the wicked.

      When we want to examine John’s vision we are given a glimpse of Heaven as it prepares for final judgment. Up to this point, God has mingled mercy and judgment. Up to this point God has been leaving the door to repentance ajar. Now humanity has made its final choice. The world has chosen Satan over God and judgment is coming. There will be no mercy. There will be no more opportunity. There will be no long-suffering or grace. There will only be judgment and the wrath of God for all those who have rejected Jesus Christ.

 

  I.     A VISION OF JUDGMENT        v. 1, 7

John tells us that he saw “another sign”. The word “sign” is the same word translated “wonder” in Rev. 12:1 and 3. In Rev. 12:1, saw a “woman” representing the nation of Israel. In Rev. 12:3, John saw a “great red dragon” representing Satan. In these verses, John sees “seven angels” who will be God’s instruments of final judgment upon the earth. He tells us that this vision is both “great and marvelous”. The word “great” speaks of something that is “important and astonishing.” The word “marvelous” has the idea of “something to be wondered at”. John is calling our attention to this vision because what is happening here is something important and amazing.

      You see in the last chapter, we saw the horrifying judgments of God as they were visited on earth. Here, we are allowed to see the judgment from Heaven’s perspective as it prepares for judgment.

A. v. 1  It Is A Scene Of Final Judgment – John sees seven angels and these angels have “the seven last plagues”. The word “plague” means “a hitting, or a wound”. What we see here is God’s hitting the earth and wounding it in judgment. The lashes of God’s whip of judgment and begun to fall on this world system and there is nothing that can stop the damage that is about to be inflicted on those who have rejected the Gospel of grace.

      When these seven judgments are poured out on the earth, they will complete the judgments of the Tribulation Period. Verse 1 says that through these judgments the wrath of God is “filled up”. This phrase translates the Greek verb “telos”= the last in any succession or series, done.  This is the same word used by Jesus when He was dying on the cross.  Just before He died He cried, “It is finished”, John 19:30.

      The word is very expressive and it was used in many ways in that society.

·         Servants used it when they had completed an assignment.

·         Priests used it when they had located a worthy animal to be used as a sacrifice.

·         Farmers used this word when a perfect specimen had been born into their flock.

·         Artists used it when they had put the finishing touches on a work or art.

·         Merchants used it when a deal had been struck. Often your receipt would contain this word. It meant that the debt had been paid in full.

·         Soldiers used it when they placed their foot on the neck of a vanquished foe.

·         Homeowners used it when they had paid the last payment on their mortgage. They would often inscribe the word of a plaque and nail it to the front of the house, revealing to all that the final payment had been paid.

      Jesus used this word on Calvary to let everyone know that He had finished the Father’s work and that redemption’s price has been fully and finally paid. Praise God, salvation is finished!

      It is used here to signify completion as well. When these seven last plagues are poured out, God’s judgment on this world will be finished.

B.  It Is A Scene Of Full Judgment – The seven angels are given seven “vials” or “bowls”. These bowls are said to be “full of the wrath of God”. The word “full” means “to be swelled”. It was used in that day of a ship that was filled with cargo. Here, it refers to the wrath of God that reached the busting point. Up until now the wrath of God has been like water flowing over a dam. The damage has been severe, but the dam has held back the worst part. In these verses, the dam of God’s wrath is about to break and the waters of judgment are going to drown both sin and sinner. As Rev. 14:10 says, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation…” Judgment is coming and there will be no escape.  

  

 A Vision Of Judgment

 II.      A VISION OF JUBILATION    v. 2-4  

Even as Heaven prepares to unleash judgment upon the earth, there is rejoicing in Heaven. I praise the Lord that there is a land that is free from the cares, sins and sufferings of this world. Every time we are privileged to look into Heaven, we see the same thing. We see the saints of God rejoicing in the presence of their Redeemer.

A.  v. 2a  The Setting Of This Jubilation – These saints are standing on a “sea of glass” “mingled with fire”. This glassy sea speaks of God’s judgment as being firm and fixed. On this earth, there is nothing more constantly changing than the ocean. The sea is never still and it is never the same. This sea is solid and unmoving! Judgment is fixed and it cannot be altered! It is “mingled with fire” to remind us that God is a God of wrath Who is in the process of judging this world.

      If you will remember, there was a “sea of brass” called “the laver” outside the tent of the Tabernacle. Before the priests entered the tent they were required to wash in the laver. It symbolized cleansing and forgiveness of sin. How many times have I stopped at the laver of 1 John 1:9 and washed my sins and my stains away? I thank God that there is a place of forgiveness and restoration today.

      In Heaven, that sea of brass has become a sea of glass.  There will be no more need for the saints to come to God for cleansing. We will never fail Him again! That will be a blessing.

      But, for the lost sinner, this sea reminds us that it has become too late for repentance. Judgment is set and fixed.  Man has reached his limit and God is about to pour out His wrath on a lost and sinful world. What a horror awaits the “earth dwellers”!

B.  v. 2b  The Source Of This Jubilation – These Heaven dwellers are rejoicing, and with good reason! These are the Tribulation saints that we met way back in Rev. 7:9-17. These are people who heard the Gospel when it was preached during the Tribulation. They heard the call of God and they repented of their sins and they were saved. Many of them were called upon to give their lives for Jesus. This they did, dying horrible deaths at the hand of the Antichrist. Now, they are home in Heaven, safe, secure and saved. And they rejoice in the victory they have been given. While those who dwell on the earth writhe under the lashes of God’s whip of wrath, these saints of God stand perfect and saved in the presence of God and they praise Him for His grace in salvation!

C.  v. 3-4  The Song Of This Jubilation – These Tribulation saints lift their voices in song to praise the God Who redeemed their souls. We are told that they sing two songs. They sing the “song of Moses” and they sing “song of the Lamb.” The Song of Moses is found in Ex. 15. It is the first song in the Bible. The Song of the Lamb is the last song recorded in the Bible. The Song of Moses was sung by the children of Israel when they had been delivered from Egypt and Pharaoh. The Song of the Lamb is sung by the saints of God when they are delivered from Antichrist. The Song of Moses was sung by the Red Sea. The Song of the Lamb is sung on the glassy sea. The Song of Moses was to praise God for bringing His people out. The Song of the Lamb is sung to praise God for bring His people in. Both songs are songs of redemption and praise for the God Who excels in delivering His people from sin and sinners. Let’s take a moment to examine this song.

1.  v. 3  They Sing Of His Works – They sing of the God Who works in power and moves in glory.

2.  v. 3  They Sing Of His Ways –They sing of the God Who’s ways are always right and just.

3.  v. 4  The Sing Of His Wonder – They exalt His greatness and magnify the God Who alone is worthy to be praised!

4.  v. 4  They Sing Of His Worship – They sing of the God Who is worthy to receive and will receive the worship of all mankind.

5.  v. 4  They Sing Of His Wrath – They sing of the God Who alone is worthy to judge sin and sinners because He alone is holy and just.

      These saints have been through a terrible time, but they found God to be a faithful God. He saved them. He kept them. He carried them home to glory. And, they stand in His presence and lift their voices in song to the God of their salvation.

  

A Vision Of Judgment

A Vision Of Jubilation

III.    A VISION OF JUSTICE     v. 5-8     

The scene changes and our attention is focused on the Tabernacle in Heaven. What John sees here is the true Tabernacle. The one Moses built in the wilderness was patterned after this heavenly place of worship. It is from this Tabernacle that God’s judgment issues forth onto the earth.

A.  v. 5  Justice Is Decreed – This place John sees is called “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony.” The word “testimony” refers to the Law that was handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai. The ancient Law set God’s standard for living. Through the Law God manifested His glory and His holiness. The Law also showcased the sinfulness of man. The Law was given so that men might understand the holiness of God and what He expected from people. The tables of the Law were placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a permanent witness to Israel, about the holy demands of a righteous God.

      Here in Heaven John sees that the Law is still in force! The Law of God has always served as God’s standard of righteousness. And it always will! Man has tried to alter the standards of God, but they are carved in stone and they are unchanging. Men have broken the Law of God and the Law demands that men be judged. God will defend His righteousness and judge all those who violate His Law. That is what is about to take place in the next chapter.

      By the way, Jesus came to fulfill the Law for all those who will put their faith in Him. He has not abolished the Law, but He has fulfilled it for those who are saved, Col. 2:13-14. When a person’s faith rests in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not required to keep the Law to please the Lord. They are, however, expected to live holy lives for the glory of God! The Law no longer stands in judgment over the redeemed saints of God, for in Jesus, we are seen as righteous!

B.  v. 6-7  Justice Is Delivered – Seven angels appear out of the Temple in Heaven. They are clothed in “pure and white linen”. This signifies their holiness and it reflects the holiness of the One they serve. They wear “golden girdles” around their chests. This speaks of the majesty and glory of the God they serve. These angels have in their hands the seven last plagues that will be poured out on the earth. These are the four beasts we met in Rev. 4:4-8. They exist to glorify the God of all creation. These beasts give the angels seven bowls filled with God’s wrath. This signifies the fact that the plagues of the Tribulation will be carried out because of God’s wrath and anger against sin and sinners.

      God’s wrath had been building against sin ever since Adam and Eve sinned in Eden. One day the wrath of God will boil over and absolute judgment will be the end result. The only refuge a sinner has, whether it is now or in that future day, is the blood of Jesus Christ.

C.  v. 8  Justice Is Dispensed – The Temple that was standing open has been closed. No one is allowed to enter because it is filled with the glory and presence of Almighty God. This image indicates that the day of mercy is passed. The door will be opened again during the Millennium, but it has been closed for the duration of the Tribulation and will not be opened! Man’s access into grace and salvation has been forever cut off. The door has been closed and God is going to judge sinners and there is nothing they can do to stop Him. It is too late to pray. It is too late to repent. It is too late to change. It is too late! There is no more hope, no more grace and no more opportunity. The door is shut and it will not be opened again!     

 

Conc: In Matt. 25:1-10, Jesus tells a parable about 10 virgins. Five are wise and five are foolish. The five wise virgins were ready when the Bridegroom came and they entered in with Him and His Bride. The five foolish virgins were not ready. They had no oil in their lamps and while they were gone to get their oil, the door was closed and they were shut out of the wedding chamber.

Victory Baptist Church 28 August 2019 victorypalmetto.com

Wade’s Wednesday

The Main Function of the Church

By Dr Charles Stanley

If someone asked what the primary purpose of the church is, how would you answer? There are many opinions regarding this issue—and since all the activities of the church are vital, it’s a challenge to be definitive about which one is most important. To help us find an answer, let’s see what Scripture says about the first church in Jerusalem, which was born on Pentecost.

Acts 2: 37-47 describes what happened after Peter gave his first sermon: Many of the Jews believed in Jesus, and the church grew from 120 to around 3,000 people (Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41). From this, we can conclude that preaching about Jesus is an essential activity of the church. But is it the most important?

Next, we see that Christians would come together and focus on the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. In addition, they met in homes to partake of meals and also shared materially with fellow believers who were in need. These things certainly make a faith community desirable, but there were still other vital activities taking place in the first church.

Love and generosity for one another witnessed powerfully to observers, as did faith and praise of God. Acts 2:47 says the Lord kept adding to the number of believers, so we can say this church had a powerful evangelistic ministry. Then, is that supposed to be the primary focus of the church?

The answer is that all of these things together can be summed up as worship of God and His Son Jesus Christ. And worship is the primary function of the church—as long as these elements are done according to God’s Word and with the purpose of glorifying Him..

Tuesday With Karen

IMG_0931Inside Trinty Church on Wall St., they kept the doors open so people could come in and cool off. Built in 1846
by Karen Icenhour
God Keeps On Blessing
God keeps on blessing even if things go wrong,
 When we become weak, He makes our spirit strong;
 His goodness is better than we can understand,
 We are so blessed to be within His great hand!
 God keeps on blessing, even if we make mistakes,
His presence with us is a gift He never forsakes;
 He stays beside us in everything that goes on,
 We are so blessed to know we’re never alone!
 God keeps on blessing, even if we stumble & fail,
In all that happens, God’s righteousness prevails;
 His love is so great, He let Jesus die for our sin,
 We are so blessed to be watched over by Him!
 God keeps on blessing, in the midst of each day,
 He’s so good to us in pouring out His grace;
 He abundantly cares, meeting our every need,
 We’re so blessed to live with Him eternally!

I Know

 I Know The Bible Is The Word Of God
“14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
II Timothy 3:14-17
I read this story from Jeff Woods: 
I used to hear people say, “I believe the Bible is the Word of God.”  I started thinking about that statement and I think it is an understatement.  A few years ago when my son and his family lived in Minnesota, over 1,000 miles away, we drove a few times but also flew a few times when we went to see them.  Before we boarded the plane, with all my heart, I believed that plane would fly to Minnesota and land safely.  If I had not believed that, I would never have boarded the plane.  Yet, I did not know for sure that there would not be any problems on the flight.  I can go to bed tonight and believe that I will get up in the morning, but I do not know for sure.  When I think about the Holy Bible, the scriptures, I know with all my heart that it is the inspired Word of God.  Paul mentions that Timothy knew the holy scriptures as a child.  What a wonderful testimony.  I praise the Lord that I was brought up in church and taught from a young age that the Bible is God’s Holy Word.  While some adults question whether Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, or that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, I was brought up on these Bible truths and my heart was young and tender and I believed.  After all these years of believing that the scripture is God’s Holy Word, I can now say that I know, without a doubt, I know the Bible is God’s Holy inspired Word.  The foundation for my daily walk with God, the foundation for these devotions, my foundation for living, and the foundation for my salvation, is the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

A Little Water

Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Little things, small things, insignificant things are used by Jesus to make huge differences. A cup of cold water is such a wonderful thing when you are thirsty, away from home, and need some time to think and reflect. A gift of a cup of cold water is so powerful if it is offered in Jesus’ name, is shared to honor him, and is given to bless others out of thanks for his grace. In such circumstances, a cup of cold water is much more than a drink; it becomes a holy gift given to the Lord himself.

 

Does it Matter?

By Kay Camenisch

After the “Amen,” the six-year-old looked up and said, “You really love God, don’t you?”   When Robert and I took our little friend for a hamburger, we held hands and had a blessing before we ate. Apparently, her family didn’t do that, at least not in public.

Another time, we prayed before eating while in Brazil with two of our sons. We raised our heads to see a stranger leaning over our table. With tears in his eyes. he said, “One of these days, I will do this with my family.”

He confessed to being unfaithful as a husband and father. His sinful lifestyle had destroyed his family. He’d become a Christian a year earlier, and his deepest desire was to see them come to know the Lord and for the family to be restored.

You might think, “Why not pray silently while putting my napkin in my lap? Does it matter if I bow to pray while in public?”   I’m sure God hears our prayer either way, so does it matter?   Both of these times, we were going about life, being ourselves, doing what we do. We had no idea we were being watched.

Our little friend observed and understood that we love God. The stranger at breakfast saw that we love God and each other. It quickened a longing deep in his heart and brought him to tears.

These situations made Paul’s words to the Corinthians come alive for me,

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:” 2 Corinthians 3:2

Paul didn’t need people to write commendations for him, because people could look at the Corinthians to see the effect of Paul’s message in their lives. Likewise, others learn about God by watching us.

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

It matters.

Friday Funnies

The Miser

A notorious miser was called on by the chairman of the community charity. “Sir,” said the fund-raiser, “our records show that despite your wealth, you’ve never once given to our drive.”

“Do your records show that I have an elderly mother who was left penniless when my father died? Fumed the tightwad. “Do your records show that I have a disabled brother who is unable to work? Do your records show I have a widowed sister with small children who can barely make ends meet?”

“No, sir,” replied the embarrassed volunteer. “Our records don’t show those things.”

“Well, I don’t give to any of them, so why should I give anything to you?”

Flies

The Pastor’s wife walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter. “What are you doing?” She asked. “Hunting flies” He responded. “Oh. Killing any?” She asked. “Yep, 3 males, 2 females,” he replied. Intrigued, she asked. “How can you tell them apart?” He responded, “3 were on a coke can, 2 were on the phone.”  

Sales

A real estate agent had just closed his first deal. To his horror though, he then discovered that the piece of land he’d sold was completely submerged under water.

“The customer’s going to come back here pretty mad,” he said to his boss. “Should I give him his money back?”

His boss roared at him, “Money back? What kind of salesman are you? Get out there and sell him a houseboat.”

Bible Study

GOD’S VICTORY ON MOUNT ZION REVELATION 14 

  1. High on A Hilltop.  (1-3)

a. A Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand: These 144,000 were last seen in Revelation 7, where they were identified as a group of Jewish believers who minister during the great tribulation and are given a seal of protection throughout that period. Since they stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb, it shows that they emerge victorious from the great tribulation. The beast of Revelation 13 certainly has not defeated the 144,000; here they are triumphant, worshipping, and standing firm with Jesus.

i. Revelation 14 will answer two important questions raised by Revelation 13. The beast of Revelation 13 was terrifying and awesome; he even can make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). So it is fair to ask, “Is the beast completely victorious over all God’s people?” The presence of the 144,000 on Mount Zion with the Lamb emphatically says “no.” The second question has to do with this Satanic dictator himself: “What happens to the beast and his followers?” The rest of Revelation 14 will answer that question.

ii. In Revelation 7, the 144,000 are seen at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. In Revelation 14, it shows them in triumph at the end of the Great Tribulation.

b. Standing on Mount Zion: They gathered on Mount Zion because Zion – the ancient name for the hills that make up Jerusalem – is the place where the Messiah gathers His redeemed and reigns over the earth (Psalm 48Isaiah 24:23Joel 2:32, Obadiah 17 and 21, Micah 4:14:7).

The 144,000 are like the young Jewish men who survived the fiery furnace in Daniel 3:19-25. They prove God’s ability to preserve His people.

c. Having His Father’s name written on their foreheads: The followers of Satan and the beast may have a mark on their hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16-17). But this mark is just a copy of the idea behind the identifying mark on the foreheads of each one of the 144,000, showing that they belong to the Father.

  1. “And who were these people, ‘having his Father’s name written in their foreheads? Those which have accepted Christ as savior. 
  2. The voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder: This is the voice of God (Revelation 1:15and 4:5). Perhaps God spoke here to proclaim His approval of these 144,000 faithful servants in the spirit of Matthew 25:21: Well done, good and faithful servant.

e. And I heard the sound of harps playing: We remember that the elders of Revelation 5:8 have harps. Perhaps this is where their music is heard, to accompany the worshipful singing of the 144,000 as they sing a new song, unique to them.

f. And they sang as it were a new song before the throne: In Revelation 14:1, the 144,000 have their feet firmly planted on an earthly Mount Zion. Yet their praise takes them right to the presence of God, right before the throne. In our praise and worship, we really can transport ourselves and be heard in heavenly places.

“Heaven is not the place to learn that song; it must be learned on the earth. You must learn here the notes of free grace and dying love; and when you have mastered their melody, you will be able to offer to the Lord the tribute of a grateful heart, even in heaven, and blend it with the harmonies eternal.” (Spurgeon)

2. (4-5) The description of the 144,000.

These are the ones who were not defiled with the “world church”, Rev. 14:8; 17:1-5. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

b. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes: These 144,000 are of Jewish heritage (Revelation 7:4-8). Yet they are also clearly believers in Jesus, otherwise they would not stand with the Lamb, follow the Lamb wherever He goes, and could not be without fault before the throne of God.

i. Each of the vast multitude saved during the Tribulation will be saved in exactly the same manner as anyone today: by grace, through a personal faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation. Even though the rapture of the church ends God’s dealings with the church as such on the earth, it certainly does not change the way people come to salvation or become part of the larger family of God, which includes all the redeemed, before and after the church.

c. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb: Because the 144,000 are the beginnings of a greater harvest they are firstfruits, the “godly nucleus of Israel which is the token of redemption of the nation.” (Walvoord)

B. Holler From Heaven.  (6-7)

Because the judgment of God is so evident on the earth in great tribulation, it is no wonder why the crowd of those saved through the great tribulation can’t be numbered (Revelation 7:9-14).

1. An angel preaches the gospel. Some today like to identify their ministry or technology with this angel flying in the midst of heaven. One prominent television ministry named the satelite they use “Angel One” in a hoped-for fulfillment of this verse. The desire to connect contemporary technology or events with this angel is nothing new. Adam Clarke, writing from the late 18th century says, “But the vision seems truly descriptive of a late institution, entitled The British and Foreign Bible Society, whose object it is to print and circulate the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, through all the habitable world, and in all the languages spoken on the face of the earth.”

ii. John Trapp, writing in the late 17th century, saw a fulfillment of his own: “This is held to be John Wicliff, who wrote more than two hundred volumes against the pope, and was a means of much good to many.”

b. Fear God and give glory to Him: This is what the angel will tell the whole world to do. They can do this and give glory to God and worship Him willingly in this life, or be compelled to give glory to Him later. Philippians 2:9-11 sWherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

iii. John says this is the everlasting gospel, and it may sound different that the gospel we hear preached today. It isn’t all that different. To every nation, tribe, tongue, and people: This can be a valid fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 24:14that the gospel would be preached to all the world before His second coming. But this can never be a valid excuse for neglecting the urgency of missions. God has not given the responsibility for spreading the Gospel to angels, but unto His people.

i. However, this is the only place in the New Testament where we see angels preaching the Gospel. In God’s sublime wisdom, He has chosen to give that responsibility to people alone, apart from the rarest of exceptions.

2. (8) An angel announces Babylon’s fall.

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

a. Babylon is fallen: More on Babylon will come in Revelation 17. For now, it is enough to see it representing mankind in organized rebellion against God.

i. “Prophetically, ‘Babylon’ sometimes refers to a literal city, sometimes to a religious system, sometime the modern church, sometimes to a political system, all stemming from the evil character of historic Babylon.” (Walvoord)

b. Because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication: When we are told that Babylon has led all nations into fornication, the main idea is spiritual fornication – the worship of other gods. However, we are never surprised to see spiritual fornication accompanied with literal immorality.

3. (9-11) A third angel warns of coming judgment.ark will be clear enough.

i. Although, receiving the mark may seem innocent enough to those who dwell on the earth. In their eyes it may not seem like much more that a mere pledge of allegiance and devotion to the Antichrist and his government. It was the same way in the first few centuries of Christianity, when to burn a pinch of incense to an image of Caesar, and to pledge “Caesar is Lord” was regarded as an innocent act of civic duty to the ancient pagans.

b. 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: the wine of the wrath of God(full strength.).

  1. The idea that God holds a cup of wrath, which He makes those under judgment drink is expressed more than thirteen times in the Bible (Psalm 75:8 and Jeremiah 25:15 are examples).
  2. The ancient Greek word orge is the common word for God’s anger in the New Testament. The ancient word thymos is used only 11 times, and 10 of the 11 are in Revelation. Usually, God’s anger towards sinners does not flash against them; it is simply His settled opposition against sin and unrighteousness. But in the Book of Revelation, which so clearly describes God’s ultimate judgment, the term for passionate anger is used much more often.

v. “In describing the worshippers of the beast, the word worship as well as the word receive in verse 11 is in the present tense emphasizing continued worship of the beast over a long period of time… the same present tense is used in describing their torment. As the worship of the beast is not interrupted by repentance, so their torment is not interrupted when repentance is too late.” (Walvoord)

4. (12-13) The blessedness of the saints, even in the Great Tribulation.

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘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.”

ai. We can only imagine what courage and comfort this passage will give embattled, persecuted saints during the Great Tribulation. Clearly, God wants to encourage His people to be steadfast in times of trial, focused on what blessed rest and reward awaits them in eternity.

C. Harvest Time (14-16)

a. On the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle: Some find it difficult to see Jesus as the One gathering the harvest here. They have a hard time with Jesus responding to another angel who came out of the temple. But it is unlikely that anyone called the Son of Man, and wearing a golden crown is anyone but Jesus.

b. For the harvest of the earth is ripe: This ancient Greek word for ripe has a negative sense, “to become dry or withered.” The idea is of something that is over-ripe. This means that God will judge the earth only when it is over-ripe for judgment. He doesn’t rush into judgment.

(17-20) The winepress of God.

a. Another angel who came out from the altar, who had power over fire: “These allusions seem to indicate that the angel is acting in response to the prayers of the saints for divine judgment on wickedness.Rev. 6:10”

b. The great winepress of the wrath of God: This vivid picture of judgment was the inspiration for The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is trampling out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on!

c. Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe: The image of the Second Coming of Jesus as a harvest is also communicated in Matthew 13:24-30 and 13:36-43, with the parable of the wheat and the tares. The implication is that true believers will not be separated from those who merely go to church until the final harvest.

“What strength have grapes against the weight and power of a man when he comes to set his feet upon them? And the riper they are, the more helpless… The heel of Omnipotence is upon them, and they can only break and sink beneath it.” (Seiss)

d. Blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs: This probably describes blood splatteringup to the horses’ bridles, a picture of tremendous carnage in the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 16:16 and 19:11-19. It is not likely a description of a river of blood running the length of the Promised Land and as high as a horse’s bridle is. This would be an almost incomprehensible river of blood.

i. In ancient times, a battle area extending one thousand six hundred furlongs (approximately 200 miles) was beyond all known conflict – but not in modern warfare. “The area covered, 1,600 furlongs, is approximately 200 miles, and specifies that the area within a 200-mile radius from Jerusalem will be gathered at the time of the second coming of Christ.” (Walvoord)

ii. But this vivid, powerful description shows how complete the judgment of God is. Revelation 14 is the perfect answer to Revelation 13. At the end of Revelation 13, it almost seemed like Satan and the Antichrist might win. But Revelation 14 shows who is really triumphant, powerful, and in control: God, His Messiah, and His people; not Satan, his messiah (the Antichrist) and his followers.

Victory Baptist Church 14 August 2019 victory palmetto.com