Most recent Sermons on Sermon Cloud All Time
Sermons about Revelation
February 17, 2013 Scripture: Revelation 2:18-29 Series: All Things New Title: To Thyatira: on not selling out Geoff Bradford
A study of Revelation chapters 11-14.
Chapter 7 Verse 1 • So the Lord has broken the sixth seal of the scroll, the title deed to the earth that He was found worthy and able to take from Him who sat upon the throne of heaven and with the sixth seal all of the earth has been catastrophically affected. • We read last week in Chapter 6 that the earth shook violently and the sun was blackened…the moon became as blood and the stars fell to the earth as rain. We saw that something has happened to the skies even, as John saw them roll up like a scroll and every island was moved out of its place. The men and women, young and old alike, rich and poor alike, mighty and weak alike…ran for their lives because it says there in the end of Chapter 6, “the great day of the His wrath has come!” • And then John asks, “Who is able to stand?” Yet the scene opens here in Chapter 7 with John looking and seeing four angels…standing…and do you know what that tells us? That means that we are able to positively answer John’s question. That means that we can confidently and definitively answer John to the affirmative. Who can stand John? Well, for one…obviously you can…because it is you that looks and sees…and we also know that these angels, these messengers of God, these that are righteous and holy…they’re standing also. Why is that so important? • Because it was Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 4, as all of this is taking place, we’ll not be here. We will be caught up in the clouds it says there in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall be with the Lord and therefore comfort one another with these words! The folks in Chapter 6, running into the caves and calling out for the rocks to fall on them…I see no comfort…but John and the rest of the church which we’ll see in just a moment…safe and sound…standing in the presence of the holy host of heaven…who can stand…we can! • And John says the angels were standing at the four corners of the earth and many over the years have pointed to this verse to contradict the literal accuracy of the Bible and to that argument I might say that the skeptic must also then accept that the US Marines believe the earth to be flat. • What’s that? Well it was the Pentagon that released an advertisement a few years back that said, “Our Marines are stationed on the four corners of the earth” and so unless you are willing to accept that the Pentagon believes the world to be flat then you cannot offer the cop out that the Bible is implying that same thing. What we have here is a bit of symboligy… • The Bible was actually the first source to present a round earth and was criticized for that until science caught up to it…Proverbs 8 talks about the “circle of the face of the deep,” and Isaiah 40 speaks of “the circle of the earth,” and even Job, which many agree is the oldest book in the Bible dating back to 1500 BC speaks of a circular horizon upon the surface of the waters in Job 26:10. And so what does this mean? • Well it’s simply speaking of the entire earth. From the north to the south to the east and to the west…the four directional points of a navigator’s compass…and deployed to each of these four corners…not the Marines…but angels! And they are holding the four winds of the earth. • In Bible typology, wind speaks of judgment. We find this in Old Testament scripture such as Jeremiah 49:36 and 51:1. And so the seals have been opened, the scene on earth is shockingly awful…and suddenly the winds stop…no breeze, no airstream, just eerily calm. Chapter 7 Verses 2 – 3 • So we see some interesting things here. First, we see angels taking orders from angels which shows us that there is order in heaven and we see that also in several other passages throughout the Bible. And we also see here that the command given is regarding the sealing of the servants of God. • Now in John’s time, a builder would seal with a wax blotted symbol the lumber that he chose before it was shipped from its source to the port nearest his building site. And then when the ship would arrive with all of the lumber, the builder would take only those with his own seal upon them. So too, the Master Carpenter, Jesus Christ, has chosen us to be the material of His eternal temple in heaven man…His family and therefore He has sealed us with His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). • You can’t loose it man. You’re all sealed up. You can’t unseal yourself because no man is able to pluck you out of the hand of your redeemer, John Chapter 10 tells us. And that seal is a seal of inheritance, a seal marking a guarantee, Paul writes to the Ephesians…and it’s a seal of family you see. And so whatever you’re in right now, whatever you’re going through, take heart…you’ve been sealed and the Spirit who dwells in you is not on vacation…He’s there to abide…He won’t leave you or forsake you and therefore if its sin…repent man and return to the earlier works as Jesus wrote to the Ephesian church…if its discouragement, look up > your redemption is at the door and when Jesus appears your life will appear with Him, Colossians 3 says. When you might cry…shortly! • You’ll make it man! Trust God! Because even these that are about to be sealed in the Greatest of all Tribulations, we will see later in Revelation Chapter 14 that they ALL make it! They all, each and every one of them…survive! They live. And so shall you! Chapter 7 Verses 4 – 8 • Here the Bible is very clear. 144,000 folks, 12,000 from each of the tribes of the children of Israel. And so they are Jews. Not replacement theology Jews…which are not Jews at all…but Jews. Jews that are directly linked to the actual tribes of Israel. Why does that matter? • Because there are many who claim to be the 144,000. Historical Mormonism claimed to be the true 144,000 until they abandoned that false idea when they grew to 144,001 in membership. (Man I bet that 144,001th guy was hated) Ellen G. White and the Seventh Day Adventists claim to be the true 144,000 although their membership numbers in the millions now. And of course the Jehovah’s Witnesses hold quite firmly to their teaching that they represent the 144,000. • It’s quite odd to me for several reasons but one of which is most is that why would they even want to be? These 144,000 go through the entire Great Tribulation. The world falling apart around them…and then I answer my own question…first, it’s a way to gain control and power over men. If I’m the true 144,000 then that means you’re not, you see and in that if you become like me then you can be in the “club” also…just pledge this much money…just go on this many missions...just hand out this many magazines…just prop me up and treat me like you superior and then I’ll declare you in the 144k club… • Second, by proclaiming themselves as the 144,000, they conveniently write the Jews right out of prophecy. You may have heard of this false teaching referred to as “Replacement Theology,” or “Reconstructionism,” or “Kingdom Now.” All false and I’ll tell you that each time the Jewish nation and Jewish people have been persecuted, hated, removed…the motivating power behind it has been great evil. And so it is with this false theology. Because you see if Israel is the apple of God’s eye as they indeed are…says so in Zechariah 2:8, then the enemy wants nothing more but to poke ‘em out. He’s tried several times throughout man’s history and he continues his wicked campaign even today. • But these here…are Jews. Jewish folks, 12,000 from each tribe who are sealed with the seal of God and given a mission to preach throughout the world during the Great Tribulation. • Now, I’m not sure if you noticed, but the 12 tribes listed here are different than the 12 tribes that we see blessed by Jacob or Israel in Genesis 49. Who’s missing? That’s right, the Tribe of Dan. And who’s added then to round out the twelve? You got it, Joseph’s oldest son Manasseh! But why? • Jewish Rabbis have consistently interpreted Genesis 49:17 to mean that the false Messiah, or Antichrist, will somehow be in the lineage of the Tribe of Dan. Genesis 49:17 reads, as Jacob was handing out blessings on his death bed, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that its rider shall fall backward.” And then Jacob proclaims something that seems out of context, out of place, but maybe not so if the Rabbis are correct. Genesis 49:18, “I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!” • Considering this with passages such as Daniel Chapter 11 and I’m not sure that anyone can say that this isn’t a possibility. However Dan’s exclusion may also be the result of something else. You see, in Deuteronomy 29 God specifically states that any tribe involved in idolatry would be separated from the remaining tribes of Israel and that is precisely what happened to Dan. • When they came into the Promised Land, the people of Dan were given coastal territory…but they grumbled. They weren’t happy with what God had provided. They soon migrated away from their apportioned territory heading north and finally settled north of the Sea of Galilee in close proximity to the pagans. They were the northern most tribe settlement wise…right next to their neighbors…and man bad company corrupts good habits, it’s a truth and shortly thereafter Dan fell into idolatry and just as Deuteronomy 29 prophesied, Dan was blotted out as a tribe. • And what’s amazing, what should stop us in our tracks is when the Lord returns and establishes His kingdom upon the earth from Israel, as Ezekiel prophesied of the city that will have the name “The Lord is There”, we find in Ezekiel 48 verse 1 that the first tribe to receive a place to rest is….Dan. Not Rueben, the first born of Israel. Not Joseph the highly favored one who was given the forfeited birthright of Rueben (through a sin of sleeping with Bilhah, his father’s concubine). Not even Judah from who would come the Lion…but Dan…the busted and failed son. • Man that speaks to me! What incredible grace! What immortal mercy! How great is the love of our God and the forgiveness of His heart towards us that just like Dan, while I ran head first into open denial of His power, majesty and authority…He divides out for me a mansion in His presence. He’ll do the same for you too, for anyone who would simply choose Him… • And so next week we’ll switch gears, we’ll turn the camera back to the scene in heaven as these 144,000 are being sealed upon the earth…
A study of the Book of Revelation exploring the end of the world and the only thing that can save it.
February 10, 2013 Series: All Things New (Revelation) text: Revelation. 2:12-17 title: To Pergamum: on Discernment preacher: Geoff Bradford
A study of Revelation, chapters 6-8.
Chapter 6 Verse 9 • The disciples had come to Jesus on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus had retreated to after lamenting over Jerusalem in the Temple. We find this in Matthew 23 and 24. Jesus cried out standing in the Temple, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” • And then He dipped, left out and departed from the temple and made His way to a private place on the Mount of Olives. And the disciples caught up to Him and asked Him, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” • And then Jesus begins to lay out this Revelation 6 Tribulation scene. Jesus responds, “Don’t be fooled by them because many false Christ’s will come,” such as the one riding the White Horse that we see in Revelation 6. And Jesus continued, “and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars,” such as those brought about by the rider of the Red Horse. He goes on, “and there will be famines,” just as we saw with the Black Horse…”and pestilences,” which is loimos in the Greek literally meaning plagues, just like we see with the Pale Horse of Revelation 6…and the Jesus says, “and a great trembling of the earth,” which we’re about to see in the remainder of Revelation 6…. • Yet Jesus says, “this is only the beginning…they will kill you, deliver you up, each nation in hatred for My name’s sake…” Now we see why Jesus wailed within the Temple…pleading that the Jews would simply turn to Him and escape this time of Great Tribulation…because He knew what was coming…what we’re seeing right here coming to pass in Revelation Chapter 6… • Things are going from bad to worse. The blood of war is flowing, the desperation of famine is proliferating. Disease and sickness are rampant…and who do they blame? Just like Jesus said that day to His disciples on the Mount of Olives…the people of the Book man. • John says he saw under the alter, the alter being a picture of sacrifice, the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and their testimony…which they held…they wouldn’t turn you see, they wouldn’t renounce Jesus you see and so they were blamed and then slain…”because of you and your God these things have come upon us!” • But isn’t this the Great Tribulation? Aren’t all the believers gone now? Off the scene with the rapture? Yes however this passage and several other passages to come reveal to us, show us, tell us, teach us that many will come to faith because of all of these things! • At the blink of an eye, millions…hopefully billions of people, vanished! Then the Anti-Christ comes on the scene, then various wars, then famine and economic desperation, then new types of weird plagues and someone will say somewhere…”wait! Wait…wait…I’ve heard this before. That lady that handed me that tract, that radio program that I stumbled upon that day, that Christmas that my neighbor brought me to church…that’s where I’ve heard this…” And then they’ll come to their senses and realize that they’ve missed the boat and they’ll be saved. We call them Tribulation Saints…but their salvation will cost them everything…they will be slain for the Word and for their testimony… • But why? Why kill the believers, right? Well it could be that they are quite different…quite different than the person who out of fear and hopelessness has chaos in their heart…ready to follow anyone that’s able to feed them and cure them of whatever pestilence is on the scene…war…deception…desperation…but these, these Tribulation Saints, watch these things take place…and they know the ending…and it’s near and so they are…different…unaffected in a way, at peace…full of hope you see. And so they are the targeted. • This idea is not new. In the days of the Black Plague, one out of every four people died. The one group of people that was seemingly unaffected were the Jews, the people of God. Today, we know it is because they were simply following the biblical principles of hygiene, but their contemporaries saw the Jews unaffected and were convinced that they were the reason for the plague…and so they turned on them. • The same will be true in the Tribulation. Amid sickness and blood, economic disharmony and war, and the emergence of the Anti-Christ upon earth, believers will be hated and murdered for the Word of God, which is now universally and wholly despised…and for their testimony that they will not waver from…and John see’s their souls…as a living sacrifice upon the alter in Heaven. • You know the same will go for you today believer. If you live in accordance with the Word and you will not waver and bend to sin…holding fast to your testimony of truth…you’ll be hated. The world will reject you and “flexitarians,” (you know those with one foot in the world and one foot in the church…those that proclaim Jesus is Lord yet live contrary to their own proclamation…) they won’t be able to tolerate you…yet the flip is, if maybe you’re watered down yourself…you’ll fit right in man. No beef, no ‘ish (issues) ever…I wonder where you are today with that? Chapter 6 Verse 10 • Notice they don’t call out, “get ‘em! We want to see they PAY!” No…they simply say, “how long?” Because they know it’s coming. They know what Jesus knew that day as He wept over Jerusalem in the Temple that they will not be gathered as chicks are gathered under the wing of the mother hen…protected, warm, provided for…but they will all be forsaken…because of their own poor, terribly horrifically poor choices. Chapter 6 Verse 11 • And so they are comforted in the presence of the King. Given white robes…comfortable and clean man…and told to rest a little while because there were yet more that would join them. Chapter 6 Verses 12 – 14 • Joel had written about this very thing 900 years prior to John…you find it in Joel 2:30-31 and Joel 3:15. Isaiah had spoken of this very thing also 800 years prior to John…you see that in Isaiah 3:15 as well as Isaiah 13:9-10 and Isaiah 34:2-4. • Rank and wealth won’t deliver anyone from this…the opening of the sixth seal will cause worldwide catastrophes, including the first of three great earthquakes that we see during the Great Tribulation throughout Revelation. All of nature will be affected: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the islands…even the heavens man. • Some have suggested that what John saw here was a nuclear winter. A result of a nuclear exchange of sorts in which the fallout would be terrible…the light of the sun would be darkened by the radioactive haze and the moon would appear red as blood as molecules and radiation would cause our eyes to perceive only the red gammas being emitted from the pale moon light. • I think that is a possibility…but as we read on and as we survey some of the Old Testament prophecies, I lean more towards this is something directly brought about by God Himself…that He Himself causes these things apart from man’s devices because look at the next couple of verses…they don’t run from a man holding a trigger, they run from God… Chapter 6 Verses 15 – 17 • Wow, where are we in the timeline of the Great tribulation? That’s right, the beginning. There are those that say that the wrath of the Lamb, the real tribulation time of the Great Tribulation, does not happen until midway into this 7 year period. Some believe that the church is raptured, taken out of the way half-way through the Great Tribulation, right before the Anti-Christ goes into the temple and demands to be worshipped as god. • I can’t get there myself…this view, called the mid-tribulation or Pre-Wrath Rapture, because verse 16 makes it clear that the wrath of the Lamb has already begun…and we’re not yet at the halfway point of the Great Tribulation. Jesus said in Luke 21:36, “pray you may be found worthy to escape all of these things,” not that you may be found worthy to escape halfway through…so personally I cannot accept a mid-tribulation or pre-wrath rapture… • I love what John says here…”you think you’re your own king? You think that you are great? You think that you are rich…a commander…mighty? Just wait. What you’re really made out of is fear man…fear and futility and when your kingdom finally begins to fall…when your greatness and riches melt…when your people pleasing phonies abandon you…your might will shed its cloak of splendor and your nakedness will be revealed. You’ll run and hide man. • And that’s the thing…we all have cloaks and disguises and games that we play as we serve false gods such as residence royalty…”well I’m the king of my house…I’m the queen of my life…” or pride or money or authority or stubbornness…but all that is <man> is a cheap costume…under it all we’re all the same…children…kids of the Most High…created in His image and by His hand for one purpose…to know Him and to love Him. To worship Him. • It is ingrained in each one of us to worship. And we all indeed worship something…what you bow down to is indeed your god…and many play this game of “oh well I’m just stumbling into sin when I sleep with him or I’m just struggling with pride when I refuse to humble myself and take responsibility for my own sin and actually apologize…for once serve…” when in reality man…they’re worshipping. Worshipping at the alter of self…in the church of Lucifer…and yet we seem ok with that…God isn’t. And here He shows us the result as this world and your life will be given over to false gods who cannot help you when the rain comes…when the stars fall and your world quakes man…the cloak fails… • And notice their song now…they could have sung songs to the Lord, worshipped Him and been saved from all this disaster…but their song now…which they sing to the inanimate and powerless mountains and rocks…”fall on us…and hide us.” • The final melody of pathetic weakness. No strength to do what’s right…no will to choose what they have always known is required…to serve the God that absolutely has the power and righteous obligation to judge sin but also has the depth of endless love in that He has done all is necessary to save them…and so they fall… • It’s interesting too because John also says every slave and every free man…there is no partiality in righteousness. God shows no one more mercy than another…no one more grace than another…we often think upon our circumstance or our situation or are human environment and we justify our selfishness and sin because surely God understands how they’re treating me…or that I don’t even have a choice in the matter…that’s just a lie man. There’s always a choice. And that choice is never theirs…it’s always yours. Your sin is your sin…in every possible, imaginable situation…whether you are free in it or a slave in it… • And notice, they run…from the wrath of the Lamb?…seems as if it’s almost an oxymoron…a paradox. “Wrath of the Lion” would be more acceptable right? Why? It was the Lamb that was slain for the very evil that we think light of? It was the Lamb that was forsaken and abandoned under the penalty of that sin that you justify…and so why not the Lamb? Man, we get so stuck on the gentleness and meekness of the Lord that we almost entirely eclipse His holiness and justice. The same Christ who welcomed the children onto His lap also drove out the many merchants who were defiling His Father’s house. • God’s wrath is not like a child’s temper tantrum or punishment dealt out by an impatient parent…His wrath is evidence man! Evidence of His holy love for all that is right and His holy hatred for all that is evil. Only a soft and sensual person, a diluted and disillusioned man…an evil person..someone straight up warped in their mind would want to worship a God who did not deal justly with evil in the world! Yet when we harbor or justify sin, that’s exactly where we arrive…isn’t it. • One last point as we see them run. Even in the light of miraculous judgment…they refuse to repent…they don’t turn to God…they run. What does this tell us? That judgment by itself cannot change the hearts of men. It is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance Romans 2:4 says…and the goodness of God is displayed in His judgment yes…but also in His love, in His truth, in His ways, in His personality…we must teach the entire Bible…not just hell fire and brimstone…and not just lovely lovey love…by themselves, each characteristic will fall short of penetrating man’s hard heart…but considered together is just like walking someone right up to Jesus and introducing them…that’s power! Chapter 6 Verse 17 • Who is able to stand? We are! Those who have met Him…those who know Him! Those who are with John right now and will be with God in heaven during this time…standing…because as 1 Thes 5:9 says, “God has not appointed us to wrath, but unto salvation.” We’ll be standing together in heaven…and as we march into Chapter 7, we’ll see three groups who will stand upon the earth in the day of the wrath of the Lamb…