The tide of the war for planet Earth turns in Revelation 14. In this chapter, Jesus is standing on His holy hill, Zion, and around Him stand His servants. Beneath Zion, the beast from the abyss, empowered by Satan, has crawled ashore. On the earth, death is stalking all who refuse Satan and turn to Jesus. In Revelation 14, right in the middle of all hell breaking loose across this planet, what do we find? One of the most touching chapters in the Bible—a chapter exposing Christ’s great compassion. For those chosen servants, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, we find that this chapter sets forth the delights of life with Jesus. This is a 20 lesson course on the final book of the Bible. Revelation’s 404 verses contain over 800 quotations, allusions, and connections to the rest of the Bible. There is no new doctrine contained in these 22 chapters, only clarification on how they will come to pass. This is the ONLY book of the Bible Jesus came down to supervise as the conclusion of God’s Revelation. Moses went up to God to get the Pentateuch; Jesus came down to Earth on Patmos to show John what to write
Welcome to our 16th lesson. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together for 16 class hours. The title of today’s study is: Christ’s Compassion as Mankind Gets a Taste of Hell. It’s continuing this theme, in the book of Revelation, about Christ’s compassion. As we study chapter 14, 15 and 16, we’ll see:
- The 144,000 again. Those evangelists and profiling the love, and compassion, and patience of Christ.
- Then we see Christ wrath and that’s usually an attribute of Jesus Christ that is rare. Most people maybe think of Him cleaning the temple, cleansing the temple, driving out the money changers but John chapter 5 says all judgment has been committed to Christ. So, He because He’s so Holy, He is completely against all unrighteousness. That’s the theological definition of His wrath.
- Then in chapter 16 of Revelation, we’ll have the most interesting time looking at life without Jesus – that culminates in Armageddon. We’ll study all the elements of life without Jesus.
If you have your Bible ready, I’m going to be turning to chapter 14 and we are going to read just the first two verses. The backdrop before we read and pray is, the tide of the war for planet Earth turns in chapter 14. In this chapter, we find Jesus standing on His holy hill, Mount Zion and as He stands there beneath the group of the 144,000 standing with him, we see the beast from the Abyss empowered by Satan has crawled a shore. Now that was the last hour, chapter 13, the rise of the antichrist on the Earth. Death is stalking all who refuse Satan and turned to Jesus.
In chapter 14, right in the middle of all Hell breaking loose across the planet, what do we find? Probably the most touching chapter in the book of Revelation, chapter 14, verse 1,
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from Heaven, like the voice of many waters, like the voice of aloud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing on their harps.”
Now, I would normally pause and say, you’ve already heard those titles right back in chapter 1, but you’ve been here in this class so many times you remember that.
It says in verse three, “They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and…”
Then it begins to describe even more in detail, these 144,000. The picture is Jesus standing with them. Showing His love, His care, His compassion, as they are deployed in such a wicked world with so much hatred and so much evil. Jesus said, just as He said, do you remember in the great commission, “Lo,” What? “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” That’s portrayed right here in chapter 14 of Revelation.
Let’s bow and ask the Lord’s blessing as we study.
Dear Father in Heaven, I thank you for your word. I thank you for the joy it is to have it, but I thank you for the blessing it is just to read it. I pray that we would all be blessed by this time in your word, because we hear, read, and keep, and obey what you’re saying. That’s only possible by the power of your Spirit and because of your grace. That’s what we ask for, that you would pour out your Spirit’s power and grace upon us during this class period, and every day that we get to live for you. In Jesus name. Amen.
Christ compassion is mankind gets a taste of Hell, especially we’ll see that taste in chapter 16.
Remember the three divisions,
- Revelation 14 – 144,000 evangelists. Compassion.
- Then we’re going to unfold the wrath of Jesus in 15.
- Then we’re going to explore the elements of life without Jesus and Armageddon.
In these first two verses that we read, what we’re seeing is Christ’s most frequent emotion. Do you remember that emotion? There are 89 chapters in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In those 89 chapters, as you look at the life of Christ, you’ll find all different descriptions of Him, but the most frequent emotion of Christ is compassion. It’s a word in Greek that speaks of being moved. It’s visceral, it’s physical, it’s not just, oh, I feel bad for them- it’s oh, I feel bad for them. Jesus shows most frequently, compassion. That’s what chapter 14 opens with. The Lamb standing on the mountain.
Now, remember that God as Savior always has evangelists. We already looked, a few weeks or a few classes back, at the Old Testament but look at the New Testament.
- The Church commissioned, empowered by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the ends of the world in Acts. The Church is the vehicle of evangelism for the Lord from Acts 1 through Revelation 5.
- Continuing on that slide look, from Revelation 7 picks up with the 144,000. Now, do you remember? I told you that a chapter 6 starts all that wrath, but chapter 7, if you remember a couple days ago is parenthetical. That means that it tells you some of the events that are going on within that time period. So, actually the Lord lays out all of the seals that He’s going to pour out His wrath, but before it starts, He deploys 144,000 and they’re going to be ministering the gospel. So, those evangelists are there.
- Then the two witnesses we saw in the last hour, in Revelation 11.
- This hour, we’re going to see in this chapter, the gospel angel. That’s a big part of Christ’s compassion. He not only has these 144,000 that are at work. He’s also sending in this amazing gospel angel. We’ll read the message.
- Then it’s going to be exciting near the end of our class time in lesson 19, looking at the millennial temple. What I call that is God’s visitor center, where the gospel is presented.
Again remember, we’re everyday walking through Satan’s realm.
As you look at that slide, think of the original recipients of the gospels and of the epistles of Paul, are those two generations. Here’s the cross of Christ. Here’s the time until Patmos and the book of Revelation. What we have is from AD 30 to AD 60, to AD 90, we have one generation, the first generation, the second generation. The first generation of the Church had the Apostles, and many of them would have met or heard Jesus Christ speak. Then, by the time we get to 60. Almost all of the epistles and the New Testament, almost all of it was given by this time. So, the second generation, that Jesus who ascends back to Heaven actually comes back to visit the churches, the seven churches right here. He is seeing how they’re doing, living in this dangerous world, and whether or not they’re applying what they heard. Every day we walked through Satan’s dark realm and remember his archers are shooting those flaming arrows.
So, what does Jesus offer? Look at this, 14th chapter and the end of verse 1, it says “having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
As the world plunges into desolation and destruction, God gives us living proof that He cares. What is that? Remember the book of Revelation that is given right here at the end of these two generations refers back to all the other scriptures. Look what Romans chapter 8 says, because I really believe that these 144,000 are just a visualization, an illustration of what God has already promised. He’s doing it with them, just like He wants to do it with us. It says in, see on the slide, Romans 8:37-39, “Yet in all these things,” All what things? Look at verse 36 “…’we are killed all day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.’ “
That’s what’s going on in the tribulation period? In this time, people are being martyred, now not the two witnesses yet, a little bit later the antichrist will kill them, not the 144,000 the Lord is using them, not the gospel witness, but all the saints that hear the gospel are being martyred. They’re counted as sheep for the slaughter, but look at 37,
“Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,” nothing, nothing of all these angelic monsters, these fallen angels, not the beast, not the antichrist, not Satan himself; look at this “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus offers true security and joy, no matter what’s going on in the world around you. Now, right now, we’re in the middle of the pandemic. Did you know, many Christians are acting fearful. They’re not acting, they are fearful and they’re actually responding the same way the world is responding, rather than knowing that Jesus offers true security. Nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing. No created thing, no demon, no monster, and no pandemic because we are in Christ Jesus, our Lord. That’s what Romans 8 says and any of you that are newly following the Lord; I know some of you are, I’m reading all these posts you’re making on both YouTube and Facebook and on our website. It’s a joy. I hope some of you I’ve heard from or you’ve been watching this lesson, but you have recently come to faith in Christ, that verse on the slide, Romans 8:37-39 is one you ought to have marked in your Bible. That is one of the greatest promises. There’s no separation from God’s love. That’s what Jesus offers.
Keep going to verse 3, because Jesus also in Revelation 14:3 is offering what I call, purity in the sea of filth. Now, where I get that term sea of filters from, one of the Roman historians said that the Roman Empire in the first century had degenerated to a level that it was like a cesspool, a cesspool is like a septic tank. It’s like a sewer system. He said, that’s what Rome had become like, a sewer.
Look at what Jesus offers, purity in the sea of filth. Verse 3. “They sang as it were a new song […] and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 […] redeemed” Verse 4 “These are the ones who were not defiled with women.”
What is that? Does that say women are bad? No. That’s hearkening right back, do you remember, to chapter 9. Look at chapter 9, the last verse, “they did not repent of their murders or sorceries or their sexual immorality.” The characteristic of the tribulation is gross immorality. These 144,000 witnesses, these men did not succumb to the temptations of immorality. They were pure in this sea of filth. Which reminds me of two of my favorite verses. Hebrews 9:14, which is a verse I learned before I went to college after high school. I was a truck driver for about a year and a half. I can never forget those days of backing my truck up to the loading dock, jumping out with my clipboard, coming up to the shipping & receiving clerk’s desk, putting my clipboard down there and I would look up. I learned that on every shipping clerk, loading dock back wall there were pornographic posters. It was just kind of the thing in the seventies. It was the Hugh Hefner Playboy era, and they would put those centerfolds up. I remember the first time I slid my clipboard up and looked, I was just shocked. I just stood there and then I looked away. Then it became a conscious choice every time I backed my truck up and delivered somewhere, whether I was going to look at what they had pasted up. But guess what? Our minds are like one of these 16-megapixel cameras on our iPhones. Once your mind sees something it’s imprinted in your mind.
I’ll never forget when I learned Hebrews 9:14. Look at what it says. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purged your minds from works that lead to death.”
Do you know what I found the Lord could do? If I asked, He could give me purity in the sea of filth of loading ducks. He can erase the pictures that are in our minds. Did you know, they’re only in our minds if we want them there but if we come and ask Him to cleanse, that’s what verse 22 of chapter 10 says, “let us draw near to God in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience…” from all those things that we know don’t please God. So, Jesus offers purity in a sea of filth.
He doesn’t only offer that, look what else He offers. Jesus offers truth in a world of lives. Verse 5.
“And in their mouth was found no deceit. “
They are without fault before the throne of God. Basically, we live in a world energized by our father, the devil. It says in John 8:44, that all of us are born into Satan’s family. Jesus said you’re of your father, the devil. So, what that means is, when you and I were born we were born in the kingdom and very much representing the god of this world, Satan. What does it say he is? He is a liar and abides not in the truth. He doesn’t like truth, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Not only are we living in a world of filth, we’re living in a world of lies and it’s almost normal for people to not tell the truth. Truth is selective. You only tell people what you want them to know. If you don’t want them to know something, you deceived them.
Guess what these servants are? Their different. What’s marvelous about the Holy Spirit is what it says in 1 Peter 2:22, that Jesus has “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”. That’s what these servants are like. They’re like Ephesians 4:25 that’s right in front of you. That’s where Paul says, don’t lie to one another because we’re members of one another. We are indwelt by the one who is the way, the truth, and the life. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. So, what we have to do is be vigilant, to never surrender our mouths to being deceitful, untruthful. Jesus offers truth in a world of lies.
Now, one of my favorite parts of Revelation. Look at Revelation 14:6.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach.” Everlasting gospel. This is the gospel angel. Jesus offers hope in the land of doom. I can see this angel, much like drone, that’s flying over. I was reading this week about the drones that are being used all over the world to measure people’s temperature. They fly up there and they’re infrared-ing, everybody and tracking them. The drone alerts the police whoever’s sick down there. This is not a COVID-19 drone, this is a gospel angel. Look what he is sharing with the world, to preach the everlasting gospel.
Everlasting means unending, infinite, eternal. This is God’s gospel. It’s very much like listening to Jesus speak when Jesus spoke. He was God the Son speaking. When this angel speaks, He is just communicating the message from God in Heaven. To try and show the compassion of Christ as mankind is getting a taste of Hell.
Do you remember what’s been happening when those trumpets were blown? When those seals were unfolded? And now as these bowls of wrath are coming? What is happening? The sun is scorching. There are meteors falling. There are horrific creatures from the abyss coming up, that are tormenting people and killing people. In fact, the largest carnage ever has already happened in chapter 9. What does Jesus do? He has this angel going, as he preaches to those who dwell on the Earth.
Now look what the end of 6 says, “…every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.”
This is not a fly by. This is a global blanketing. It is like crop spraying. If you ever watch a one of those crops sprayers they go back and forth, back and forth. This angel is going to what God says. Look at the four qualifiers,
- Every nation
- Within that, very tribe
- Within that, every tongue
- And people group.
This is basically what we were called to do in the great commission. The Lord is doing and showing us that He is not willing that any should perish. What is the content of the gospel?
Verse 7, “saying with a loud voice,” I can just see this angel looking down and with this huge voice, empowered by God he’s saying, verse seven, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come;”
So, it’s a call to fear, that’s reverential awe that leads us, it’s like repentance. I see where I’m going, and I have a change of mind about that, which leads to a change of direction. So, when you fear God, you alter your behavior. You give Him glory instead of yourself, instead of the sins of the flesh. It’s now, I want God glorified.
“For the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him…” Now, who do we worship? Look at verse 7. “…Him who made Heaven and Earth, the sea and springs of water.” The creator. You know what’s interesting? When God gets to preach through a megaphone angel, gospel angel, He preaches that He is the creator and that we must worship Him as the creator. That’s why evolution matters. If you believe that there’s not a creator and that everything just happens somehow that must be repented of because the everlasting gospel. See, this is not a temporary. This isn’t just all for this group we’re saying this. The good news of salvation that’s everlasting, is worship the creator. God tells that to every kingdom, tongue, tribe, and nation; and they do.
Jesus, look at this slide, offers hope in the land of gloom. Jesus, also starting verse 8, offers compassion in the midst of judgment. Verse 8 “And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen that great city, because she’s made the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast or 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,”
“He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone”
“And the smoke of their torment will ascend forever and ever, and they’ll have no rest day or night.”
Now, look at the Lord. He doesn’t blunt, He doesn’t mute the horrors of judgment against sin. He warns and offers mankind, as they’re getting a taste of Hell, He offers them through the 144,000, through the gospel angel, before He pours out His wrath. He keeps saying repent, turn to me. Believe. Worship. I’m the creator. The good news is, it’s not too late for you.
The passage starting in verse 8, is the second half of chapter 14, in which we’re confronted with what happens to those who exist without Jesus; this eternal judgment and condemnation. See, the book of Revelation is fascinating.
Side by side, all the way through it’s Heaven and Hell, Heaven and Hell, Heaven and Hell. Heaven for those who turn in faith and cling to Christ. Hell for those who want to live without Jesus. You see, God gives everybody what they really want. If you really want to deny Him as creator, to not worship Him, to not submit to Him, God will give you that.
The next slide shows what starts happening in verse 14. I’ll read that.
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice […] saying, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, […] for the harvest of Earth is ripe. So, He who sat on the cloud, thrust in His sickle […] and the Earth was reaped.”
Jesus offers understanding to us, in a time of wrath. Wrath is one of the attributes of God. There are over 20 different attributes of God. I’ve mentioned these just about every other class. There’s been some touching upon them, and you know many of them. All the omnipresent, omniscient, and all those, but one that we don’t think of often is God’s wrath tied to His justice, which is also tied to His love. God loves so much that He compassionately offers mankind this gospel angel, this eternal gospel. Hand in hand with that, His wrath, is that He will forever punish all sin. So, there’s a choice, either sin is on me, my sin is on me, or my sin is on Christ. Those are the only two choices there are.
If it’s on me, I’m going to die with it. It’s going to be like napalm, burning petroleum. That is like the fires of Hell eternally tormenting me for my sin. Ezekiel talks about that. He says, people go through life and their sins stick to them and it’s like they have this gigantic pile of sin that gradually, Ezekiel said, it’s like an avalanche that overwhelms them, and they’re buried by it. They go into eternity with sin, which has the fiery wrath of God.
See on your slide, 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Let me read that verse to you because that’s how Paul describes the return of Jesus Christ. In judgment, not His rapture for the Church. 2 Thessalonians 1. Actually, it starts in verse 7, let me start in 7
“…to give those who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels.” That’s the second coming, look at verse eight,
“in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So those that don’t respond to the everlasting gospel right here. Keep reading verse nine,
“These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
Jesus offers understanding in a time of wrath, the impendent Earth dwellers only face doom in their lives. They’ve said, God, leave us alone. So, He does, forever.
In the next slide we see chapter 15 unfolding. So, chapter 14 is this whole 144,000, Christ’s compassion with this gospel angel. Chapter 15, we meditate on the character of Christ. Remember these attributes? I talked about Jesus, side-by-side, He is patient and wrathful. He is supremely patient; He is supremely wrathful. In Revelation 15, you discover:
- Jesus is patient, that’s verse 1.
- His saints are triumphant, that’s 2-4.
- Jesus Christ is victorious, that’s verses 5-7.
Then look at verse 8 of chapter 15 it says, “The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
What is going on? What’s the smoke? Back up to verse 7.
“Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels, seven golden bowls full of…” look at this, “…the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.”
God’s eternal attribute is wrath against all unholiness is because He is just. That is totally affected by His love. So, His love makes Him have compassion, but His holiness and justice makes Him have wrath. So, we meditate on the character of Jesus.
Do you know that this Jesus Christ the Lord, who merits such praise, as worthy is the Lamb. That’s the song of Heaven. Worthy is the Lamb. He is worthy because He is loving. He is worthy because He’s creator and we should worship Him. His is worthy because He is just. He’s worthy in His wrath.
Now, some Christians have trouble with that. They say, how could a loving God create an eternal Hell? Remember, the scriptures tell us that Satan and his angels is who Hell was prepared for. It was not prepared for humans, but any human that will not take God’s offer to be born again, out of Satan’s family into Christ’s family will suffer the same wrath that Satan has.
Jesus on the cross, Jesus justifies sinners who come to Him and faith. What that means is that God punishes Jesus, like He committed my sin. So, either I’m going to be responsible to pay for my sin forever – that’s Hell or I will forever be grateful to the one who already took the penalty, punishment and even the record of my sin – that’s the everlasting gospel, to fear and worship the one who became sin for us.
Jesus, in chapter 15 shows us His saints are triumphant in the first two verses it says.
“Then I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on a sea of glass, having harps of God.”
Who are these martyrs?
- These are the ones coming up.
- We already saw them in 7 and now we see them again in chapter 15.
- These are the martyrs coming up that as chapter 12 says, overcame the beast by the word of their testimony and they were not ashamed of Christ, even unto death.
- They loved Him.
- These are martyrs. In fact, the greatest number of martyrs in all of history are going to be coming up out of the Earth.
- The greatest revival, the most intake, a harvest of saints comes out of the tribulation because the Lord says you can’t even number them.
- It’s an uncountable number coming out because of the compassion of Christ, because of the 144,000, the two witnesses, the gospel angel.
So, there’s so much to see in this chapter.
“…I saw something like a sea of glass…” It says it’s not an actual sea of glass, it’s like a sea of glass. I don’t know what it is and it’s not for us to figure out, but what it does is, it’s mingled with fire. Remember there’s a river of fire flowing out from under the throne. It speaks to the fire of persecution and refinement the saints have gone through. They have victory over the beast and they’re standing there. From a human perspective, we’d say all those people were killed, but God doesn’t look at it that way. God doesn’t say that they were just killed. It says they are the one who desires not to save their life, but they lose it for Christ’s sake. Therefore, they gain it forever. They are an example of what Jesus preached about. What I just quoted was Mark 8:35, “…whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospels saves it.”
Jesus’ saints are triumphant. Either we are going to die defending our faith or we’re going to die displaying our faith. It’s a choice. Some are martyrs because they stand up for Christ in one of these very, very difficult places and they die. The rest of us, the majority of Christians in this age are going to go through life with the long, slow decline. This is what the Lord says we’re supposed to do. 2 Corinthians 4, we have this treasure in an earthen vessel. The more the earthen vessel, the clay pot, cracks the more the treasure shows. Did you know Psalm 92 says the older we get, the more we should declare the Lord is good? It should be that everybody in the hospital, everybody in the nursing home, everybody that sees us as we’re declining, sees more and more of the treasure. That’s because Jesus’ saints are triumphant.
Look at verse 3, this is the final song in the Bible. Did you know, there are 14 different worship songs that are recorded in the book of Revelation. 14, and this is the 14th one right here in chapter 15, verse 3. Let me read it to you, this great doxology to God.
“They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:”
Now, wait a minute, Moses? Remember, Moses led the children of Israel through the Passover, through the Red Sea, toward the promised land. So, Moses is the servant of God and the Lamb. Remember, Moses could not get them into the promised land, but Joshua, Yeshua; do you know what that is in Greek? Jesus, Iēsous.
Joshua pictured the grace of Jesus Christ. Moses pictured the law. The law can only get you to the river, can only get you to see your sin, but grace, the savior, gets you home to the promised land. So that’s why it’s the Song of Moses, the great deliverer, the Passover one; but the song of the Lamb, the sacrificial One, the One who became sin for me, the One who became my Passover. Look at the content of the song.
“Great and marvelous are your works, Lord, God almighty!”
Just now, see all these attributes come out. See the songs of Heaven? The lyrics of the songs of Heaven reflect the proper theology, the attributes of God, and truth.
“Just and true are Your ways. O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord and glorify. Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”
Wow. The final song recorded in Heaven. A song of God’s justice, of His redemption, of worshiping Him, glorifying Him, of being touched by the compassion of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is victorious. Do you see verse 5?
“After [I heard these things],” chapter 15:5, “I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven was opened. And out of the temple came seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chest girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God.”
His wrath keeps coming up. The wrath of Jesus is so filling this 15th chapter, but that wrath is based on His justice and His love and His compassion but giving the bowls “full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and His power.”
Now remember, smoke is tied with judgment. Do you remember at Mount Sinai that it was like a pillar of fire and smoke coming out when the law was being given? It was speaking of God’s wrath against sin. That’s why this temple fills with smoke now. We’ve never seen the temple full of smoke. We’ve seen the glory clouds. We’ve seen all of the glory filling it, but not smoke.
This is the wrath of God showing up. That’s the emphasis of verse 8. Jesus Christ is wrathful. This temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power and no one could enter the temple. Do you know what verse eight is? I would say, it’s probably the saddest point in scripture. It’s the point where God’s patience stops. Isn’t that interesting. It’s when God says, okay that’s it, mankind gets to taste what Hell is going to be like. That’s what launches in verse 8.
We could call it this, life is horrible without Jesus. That’s the way I would title this chapter. Now remember, those of you that are taking this for credit, you have your devotional journal. Don’t forget to do that. You got to turn it in before class ends. When you do, well let’s just do chapter 16 of Revelation. I’ll just do one for you. So, listen to Revelation 16.
First of all, you summarize the 16th chapter, give it a title, a summary in the form of a title. Do you know what a title is? It’s not a paragraph, a title is a short phrase or a single sentence. This is how I would title the 16th chapter: Life without Jesus and Armageddon. Life without Jesus. So, you write, Life without Jesus. Then, you look at the lessons or truths that are in the 16th chapter. What are those? I’m going to go through them with you right now. I thought it would be fun for you to see how to do one of these chapters.
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without Jesus? In fact, I know that this being on YouTube, that there are probably some of you, if you’ve lasted this long 40 minutes into this video, that you might not even be a Christian. What is life is like without Jesus? If you’re considering Him and haven’t decided, you’re looking but you haven’t placed your heart’s desire in Christ, you haven’t chosen to follow Him, then pay close attention to this 16th chapter.
It shows you exactly what life without Jesus would be like. It’s the most graphic, vivid, and powerful description in all the scriptures of what Hell is like. Think about it, the 16th chapter is a taste of Hell. Now, that could be another title. You could say A Taste of Hell, for your devotional journal.
In 21 dramatic verses of chapter 16, John sees and records what happens when mankind joins the fallen angels in living without God? I’ll just summarize. Here are the lessons.
- The first bowl, human bodies will ooze malignant sores as all the evil within them, the inward corruption starts showing up on the outside.
- The second bowl, Earth’s oceans become death and they wash up on every shore. The waters of the sea are filled with life, but it becomes a stench of death. Blood, it says, of man’s hopelessness apart from God.
- The third bowl, all the water has the stench of corruption rising and its absolute desperate desperation because all of them are poisoned. People don’t have anything to drink.
- The fourth bowl, people’s bodies burn from a solar fire pouring down from the sky.
- The fifth bowl, is instantaneous impenetrable darkness, it goes from the brightness of the blazing sun to inky black darkness with that fifth bowl
- The sixth bowl, the waters of the Euphrates river dry up and a demon trio roundup, the antichrist army.
- Then the seventh bowl, as all the Earth dwellers gathered, God unleashes the greatest earthquake of all time. We have magnitude eight earthquakes. Someone even said that the Sumatra quake may have measured nine. This is going to be a 10. It’s going to be the most powerful earthquake ever to hit the Earth. It obliterates all monuments and levels all cities. Islands in the ocean sink and hailstones weighing over 60 pounds start slamming down on Earth. Wow.
It’s the final days of mankind’s unending fight with God. At lasts they are brought the freedom of what they’ve always wanted. Life without God. That’s what mankind is always wanted. God gives it to them finally.
Now look at this slide. Remember the sequence,
- The seven seals go from 6:1 to 8:1 of Revelation.
- The seven trumpets go from 8:1 to 11:15.
- The seven bowls start at 11:15 and go all the way to 16:15.
That’s the whole span of the seven years.
We’ve already seen the seven sealed scroll and chapter 6; you can see it before you.
Then these trumpet judgments have sounded, and we’ve gone through all those, from chapter 8:1 through 11:15.
Now the seven bowls of wrath:
- 16:2 sores on men with the mark.
- 16:3, a sea of blood, everything dies in the sea.
- 16:4-7 the water of the rivers become blood like in Egypt.
- 16:8-9 the sun scorches with fire
- 16:10-11 darkness in the beast’s kingdom.
- 16:12-16 the Euphrates and the kings of the east come.
Life without Jesus. Number one is like having a deadly incurable disease. Look at the description, 16:1. “I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of wrath of God on the Earth.’ ”
So, the first went and poured out his bowl. Remember the picture we talked about? This a couple of classes ago, that it’s the throne of God, the edge of the crystal sea. Earth is seen below them. This angel comes out of the temple, walking to the edge. He takes that bowl, and he pours it out on the Earth. As that bowl of wrath descends on the Earth listen to what happens.
“A foul and loathsome soar came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” Wow.
“The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea.” Wow. And what happens there? Keep going.
Life without Jesus is like dying of thirst in verse 4. “The third angel pours out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the water saying: “You are righteous, O Lord.” Remember righteous, just in His wrath. God has warned and warned and warned. His spirit has been striving with mankind since the garden of Eden. Now He says enough, I’m pouring out my wrath.
What’s interesting is, as you see on the slide, life without Jesus is like dying of thirst. Christians, John 7 see that reference on the slide, John 7:37-39, when God saves us, His Spirit moving within us is like a river of life giving water, flowing out of us. We become like fire hydrants wherever you are right now, if you have roommates, if you’re living at home with your family, wherever you are. In fact, I got a note last night from someone over in Germany, who’s watching these in a hotel in Germany. He just wrote me last night and said, I am watching the Revelation class in Germany, in a hotel. In that hotel in Germany or wherever you are we’re supposed to be like a hydrant of the water of life, flowing out to people that are so dying of thirst around us. Because life without Jesus is like dying of thirst. Jesus said, “if anyone thirst let Him come to me and drink.” Verse 38, “he who believes on Me, as the Scripture says out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters.”
Next slide, life without Jesus is like being enslaved to the worst master. What does it say in verse 8? “The fourth angel poured out his bowl…” He comes to the edge of the throne, “poured his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire.” Verse 9 “And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God.” Wow. Enslaved to the worst master. John 8:31-36, Jesus said that He has come to set us free and if we come to Him, we’re free indeed.
Next, life without Jesus is like living in total darkness. Verse 10, “the fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness.”
Finally, life without Jesus is like endless despair. It’s the idea of being never able to overcome the bondage, the discouragement, the depression. That’s why one of the greatest mortalities among young people is suicide, the cause of death. Because they’re in endless despair.
This next slide I want you to see, because usually when I’m teaching this class it’s to a live classroom and we have all these breaks. They have 10 minute breaks and some institutes they speak and have 15 minute breaks and others. As soon as the break comes after, about a third or fourth of the class, half of the group, all the young ladies go over and they’re just talking to Bonnie. Two or three or one will pull her off the side and just have this heart-to-heart talk and boy, the men come up to me. This slide, I just want to show you what I would say to you, if you were in my class and you came up as countless young men have come up to me. They usually turn, they don’t anybody to hear. They say, “I’m really struggling, I’m enslaved to my lust.” I always pull out my Bible and I said, let me show you what I have taped right here in the back of my Bible on this page. I have post-its over it, it’s something right now on your computer.
If you type in the word Anthem and John Piper’s name, this is what will come up. It’s a principle, a little thing for the back of your Bible. Basically, he says the same thing I was taught when I was your age in college, how to overcome besetting sins.
It’s A N T H E M:
- Avoid sites and situations that promote evil. Psalm 101:3. “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.”
- Say no, and less than five seconds, Romans 6 – don’t yield your members to sin. If you actually say no, Lord I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to look at that. I don’t want to re-enslave myself to that.
- Turn your mind forcibly toward Christ. I wrote Colossians 3:1-2. That means set your affections on things above.
- Hold onto the promises of Christ. Do you remember in our class yesterday, I was talking to you about the shield of faith? That you say, I hold those promises, don’t let those fiery arrows of the evil one inflame me to give up and go back into sin. So, hold the promises of Christ as a shield.
- Enjoy the superior satisfaction of Christ. Hebrews 12, it says Jesus endured the cross, who for the joy set before Him. The superior satisfaction. Did you know, you and I get a dose of grace every time we’re tempted, and we cry out to God and say, Jesus help me, save me now. I don’t want to do this. We just get this amazing, it’s like a huge mega dose of His grace. We enjoy, in that moment, the superior satisfaction like Moses did in Hebrews chapter 11. “He endured seeing Him who was invisible,” 11:24 -27.
- Move to a godly activity. Usually, idleness as the old timers used say, is the devil’s workshop. When we are alone, have nothing to do, and we’re flipping around and looking at our phone and whatever; Satan wears us down. We break through the walls, the restraints that grace has built, and we do not obey him.
So, this is what I would tell you, let me show you a quick example in Titus 3.
It’s one of my favorite memories, that I have. It was my first pastorate. I was up in New England. I just moved into this church and was serving. Every day when I drove to church, I would always see the same thing, and everyone saw it. I began to notice one of the better-known people in town, Mr. Muscles, the power walker. He had two, 10-pound barbells in each hand as he walked. He would flex his muscle and sweat every day as he walked around town. He wore only these little, tiny athletic shorts, shoes and sweat as he went around with his muscle building program.
One day he walked right into my office, I’ll never forget, a little commotion. My secretary didn’t want to let him in because he wasn’t even hardly dressed. Yeah, there he was dripping, with sweat running down his face and he said, Father. He called me Father. You know what? That instantly told me he was Roman Catholic. He said, Father, I want to talk to you. I told the secretary, let him in. So, he came in and he set his barbells on the floor and started dripping on my floor.
He says, I walked through your parking lot all the time. I said, I know I’ve seen you. He told me his name and I said it’s so good to meet you at last. He says, no, I want to talk to you. He said, when I walked through on Sundays, he said, I walked through – my power walking. I feel something from all those people. He said, I feel peace. I feel joy. He said, what is it that they have?
So, I started. I said, you really want to know? I took my Bible and I started sharing the gospel with him. I was really busy. I had it marked, the Romans Road. I was just reading the verses and I paused, and I looked up. He wasn’t there. I went like this with my Bible. While I was so busily reading my Bible, not looking at this nearly unclothed man, he got down on his face, on the carpet.
Now he wasn’t just dripping on it. He was laying on it. I paused and he said, I want it. I said, you want what? He says, I want that. I now, down with him, to make long story short, led him to Christ and gave him a paperback Bible. I thought I’d never see him again. I didn’t know if this was a stunt. If there’s going to be a television crew, me coming out with this notorious guy.
He came on Sunday, carrying his paperback Bible. He says, Hey, I found myself in the Bible. I said, you did? He said, yeah, he said in Teetuss, he didn’t even know how to spell it or how to pronounce Titus. He says Teetuss and I said okay, Teetuss where? He said 3:3-7. He said, “for we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful.” He said, that’s me.
Look at what’s next, “But when the kindness and the love of God, our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
Did you know, life without Jesus has total fear and that young man, that notorious man, I found out later he was a brawler and a drinker and a womanizer. He told me himself, the grace of God took away his fears, took away his enslavement to sin. He became a radiant follower of Christ. He ended up marrying one of the ladies from the choir and what a godly husband he became.
On the next slide, we’re looking at the Armageddon event and there are actually four different places that final battles occur. You can see from this chart that theologians have deferred because the Bible didn’t come with a chart.
Basically, as Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Psalm 83 either describing Armageddon or the events just before Armageddon which could happen at any time. Daniel 11 and Revelation 16, really, truly talk about the final battle.
So yesterday, we saw Russia and the end of days. I explained that, as well as this map.
This Psalm 83 war could happen at any time, at listing off these people but this is the Armageddon event that chapter 16 ends with.
Which is a culmination of Christ’s compassion. Remember, as mankind gets a taste of Hell and chapter 16 concludes, Jesus has shown His compassion through offering the eternal gospel with the gospel angel. He has shown His wrath, but it’s after a great time of patience and He has already deployed His 144,000. Always remember that the compassion of Jesus, His love reflected, is tied to His justice and the wrath of God.
Let’s have a closing word of prayer as we finish the 16th lesson.
Father, I thank you for this great journey, seeing the attribute of Christ’s wrath, and the amazing compassion of you, Lord Jesus. You’re not willing that any should perish. You want to rescue people like power walker and every one of us today from living in any way apart from worshiping you. So, I pray we would renew our desire to live for you, to speak for you, and to declare that everlasting gospel, to call people from darkness to light. Thank you for letting us gather. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.