#39 Judgment Day IV
Today we will conclude our study in Revelation chapter 14 and we return to our familiar theme, Judgment Day! We saw in our last two Sunday Morning Services, how Jesus came to this earth as a suffering servant, a willing sacrifice who, like a lamb going to the slaughter, opened not His mouth. However, when He comes again, it will not be as the meek and lowly Lamb, but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Judge of all the earth. His return will spell the end of the evil empires of this world. This is exactly what we read in (Re 11:15) “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
MacArthur says, “Despite its many political and cultural divisions, the Bible views the world from a spiritual perspective as one kingdom, with one ruler—Satan (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2Cor. 4:4). Following Satan’s lead, the human rulers of this world are generally hostile to Christ (Ps. 2:2; Acts 4:26). The long rebellion of the world kingdom will end with the victorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to defeat His enemies and establish His messianic kingdom.
Turn in your Bibles to (Mt 13:24-30). God is going to harvest the earth. Jesus gave many parables concerning this harvest; the dragnet, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, The Ten Virgins, The Talents, the Sheep and the Goats, and the one before us, the Parable of the Darnel Seed or The Tares.
Let’s take a look at this particular Parable and see what Jesus had to say about the Tares. Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ Someone had sown tares, (literally darnel seeds) among His wheat. 28 “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ Some zealous servants suggested pulling them out right away. The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ Now the darnel seed in its early stages produces a plant that looks remarkably like wheat.
You can’t tell the difference until it begins to mature! And the Landowner, (God) stayed their hands. We read in verse 29 “But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; He basically said, let them co-exist together till the end and in the time of the harvest when their true nature is known, I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” Judgment Day! Now take this illustration and apply it to the end of the world for that is what is being spoken of here. Evil men and the elect of God both co-exist together, sort of. Hopefully the majority of real Christians are taking heed to the word of God that tells us to be in the world but not of it, to come out from among them and be separate. Remember that among the mass of so-called Christians there are always a few real ones sprinkled in…it’s always a remnant. Now in reality the true believer should stand out like a sore thumb, like a man wearing a white shirt in a sea of others wearing black. I’m not saying that the true Christian never sins, what I am saying is that it’s not the norm. He doesn’t practice, work at: strive for excellence in it like the unbeliever. Instead, to a greater or lesser degree, he wrestles with it.
There’s a sermon called, “We Wrestle Not!” the gist of the message being that the church has become complacent. And I’m not talking about the building; I’m talking about the people in that building. But we could use the building as an example. Picture this; a beautiful building with nicely manicured lawns, the weeds under control: the inside is clean and orderly! Would you say that whoever is in charge of that building is on the ball, working hard to keep everything running smoothly? Now picture the same building. The weeds are overgrown, so much so that you can’t even walk on the sidewalk. They are blocking the windows. The wood of the stairs is rotting and unsafe to walk on. The windows are dirty and the inside is full of roaches! What kind of person do you think owns that one? Obviously a complacent, neglectful individual!
We are living in an evil fallen world and it takes supreme effort on our part to withstand the temptations therein. And we are going to have some interaction with the people of this world. But what God is telling us through the scriptures is this: though you are in this world, don’t let it rub off on you. Don’t lie down with a flea ridden dog or you’re going to come up with its fleas! Fight! Fight against the evil desires in your own heart. Fight against the urges of the old nature. Stand firm in the strength of the Lord God, submit to Him and in His strength, resist the devil and he will flee from you!
Listen to the word of God on this. Paul in (Ro 13:12) says “The night is almost gone, the dark night of this evil and adulterous generation is passing away, and the day the day of the Lord’s return, either the final one or the day of our death, when He calls us home, that day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness (the idea is to fling away like some loathsome disease covered rage) and put on the armor of light.”
And in (Eph 5:11) he says, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…” This is pretty clear cut is it not! And why should we stay away from the things of the world? Because they are evil! The Lord hates them. (Re 18:8) says “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
This world with all of its sinful pleasures is on its way out. It is destined for the fires of destruction and hell. And He has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light. We have been given new hearts, new desires and when the spirit of the world tries to tempt us by waving one of our former pet sins before our eyes saying, “Think of the pleasure” recall to mind the word of God in (Pr 4:15) which says, “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” As we look at our text, (Rev 14:8-20) see for yourself the fleetingness of earthly, fleshly things.
The pleasures of the world are quite literally here today and gone tomorrow! They are not worthy to be compared to the blessings of God! But many people have invested their all in this temporary, disposable world. They are banking on a theory, a guess that there is no God, that Jesus never came to earth and that there are no consequences for their actions. Even now sinful men and women are investing in the kingdom of antichrist and the false prophet and the false religious system. Their cry is, “even so come quickly and rid us of all those negative people who are always finding fault with us and the things we like.” They have no idea what they are asking for!
The antichrist will be a tool in the hand of God to wreak judgment upon sinful man. And then suddenly, in one day this beloved world will be gone! (Jude 1:15) tells us that Jesus is coming with ten thousands of His saints, “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
We read…“And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.” Sinful men will wail with anguish for they have been holding onto…trusting in…relying upon…‘put their faith in Babylon!’ and suddenly “IT’S GONE!”
Hendriksen says that Babylon represents the world with its evil allurements and MacArthur says that this “Babylon” includes the entire worldwide political, economic, and religious kingdom of Antichrist. Now many commentators hold that this Babylon is the harlot, the apostate Church and the visible representation of this harlot is the Catholic Church!
Listen to this statement by John Gill. He is of the opinion that this is a direct reference to “Papal Rome, called Babylon the great in (Re 16:5, Re 18:2). The Alexandrian copy, the Latin Vulgate, Syriac and Arabic versions all read thus. In fact, this was the predominant opinion, the one which used to be widely held by many before political correctness and ECT, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”
Gill said that “This kingdom of the Romish antichrist is called Babylon because that city was famous for its pride and haughtiness, for its tyranny and cruelty, and for its idolatry. Indeed its name, which signifies “confusion,” well agrees with the Papacy, which is a confused mixture of Judaism, Paganism, and Christianity.”
Remember what I told you on Easter Sunday, how when Constantine became the Emperor of Rome, he proclaimed “Christianity” to be the state religion. But then he had to figure out what to do with all the people (a vast majority) who were used to worshiping idols. He didn’t want to divide the kingdom and lose all of these valuable subjects. So there were many compromises made, many concessions and much paganism was introduced into the churches at Rome. But we must understand that error is always introduced subtly.
You can’t just waltz into an assembly of Christians and say, “I would like to teach you guys some false doctrine and lead you down the road to ruin!” Evil men and women: the Bible calls them “seducers” are crafty like their father the devil and they work hard to twist their lies into an attractive package.
“This occurred in Rome and in every one of the once orthodox denominations which now openly preach error. Rome has been called Babel for a long time going back to some ancient writings of the Jews where some copies read “Babel,” others read “Rome.” Tertullian, who wrote long before the appearance of the Romish antichrist, agrees with the Apostle John that, “Babylon is a figure, a type, a synonym for the city of Rome. The words, it is fallen, is fallen”; are repeated to emphasize the certainty of its judgment.
For the fall of the antichrist will certainly come! On the appointed day, at the preordained hour the stench of Babylon’s sin will be filled up.” It will rise as a loathsome stench before our thrice Holy God,” and He will pour out the vials of His wrath upon her, and will give men an loathing toward her; and at the command of God she will fall, just as the walls of Jericho fell at the sounding of the rams’ horns.” The storm will come and the winds will blow and beat against that evil house and it will fall and great will be its fall.
Now why don’t wicked men understand is that they are building the ‘world of their dreams’ in a flood plain? Can’t they see that it is unstable? If you’ve built sand castles you understand how weak the structure is. Once the water comes in, all but the stuff you worked so hard on just seems to melt away. In the same way, this Babylon will be destroyed and with it men’s dreams.
The fate of sinful, unrepentant men and women is sealed. We read in verse 9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Who will be judged? Here specifically it is the people who worship the beast. He has proclaimed himself to be god. Paul lays this out for us to see in (2Th 2:4)
He describes this wicked man as the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. The antichrist will demand to be worshiped and many will willingly bow in reverence to him. And they will pay for their sin of idolatry with their lives! Whoever worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand will suffer unspeakable torture and agony. They will go to the place “where” Jesus said, “THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. (Mr 9:44) Wicked mankind loves their wickedness, they love their sins and with gusto they are storing up wrath unto the Day of Judgment .
And with the same gusto they will be made to suffer. They have sown to the wind and will reap the whirlwind. For just as they drank the cup of their sinful pleasures to the dregs, the scriptures tell us that 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Again we see that there is a distinction made between the wicked and the children of God. Notice verse 12 “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” What characterizes the saints? They keep the commandments of God and hold fast to their faith in Jesus. Remember those uncomfortable words of our Lord in (Joh 14:15) when He said “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Commandments! I thought we were under grace?
But Jesus says it more than once! Look at (Joh 14:21) “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” What is Jesus talking about here? Simply; a life of obedience to the word of God! God speaks to us through His word and He tells us to do things and to avoid other things. And what we are to do is OBEY!
There really ought to be some kind of distinction between the Christian and the unbeliever; something that sets the two apart! Unfortunately this truth has gotten muddled along the way, what with easy believism and 1.2.3 steps to salvation where people are told to perform 3 things and they are Christians and there doesn’t have to be any change in their lives at all. God isn’t going to come in and ruin their lives with a bunch of do’s and don’ts.
But this is foreign to the Word of God! What do you think Paul meant when he said “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. (2Co 6:17) Or, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2Co 7:1)
(Phil 2:14-16) “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…
The Bible makes a clear distinction between Christians and unbelievers. We are called out of the world, out of our former way of living. We are called to walk in the light, to live a life of obedience to our Lord’s commandments, said life being the proof that we are in Him!
Though we do not live perfectly, without flaws, our lives are characterized by obedience to the word of God, love toward Jesus Christ and separation from this world. Our Lord here speaks of those who should stand out against all the flattering temptations, wiles, and threats of the beast and his image, continuing steadfast in the faith of Christ, though it should cost them the sacrifice of life.
Now look at verse 13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” In the time of the antichrist there will be many martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and their stand for the truth! But their death will be for them grace for they will enter into their eternal rest. No more struggle against sin, no more wrestling with the old nature, they will be at perfect peace. Deeds following could mean rewards or it could mean that he being dead yet speaketh. His deeds proclaim his love for Jesus!
What is the difference in fates between those who trusted in Babylon and those who trusted in Christ? Sand and Rock! According to the scriptures in one hour Babylon will be swept away while God’s kingdom is eternal and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Think of siege warfare where the enemy runs into a walled city and raises the drawbridge. They think they’re safe but even the gates of hell (where unbelievers hide) will not be able to withstand the assault of the Truth!
Now notice the last section of this Chapter; verses 14-20, which deals with the two harvests. And keep in mind what Jesus said in the parable of the Darnel or the Tares. He said, “I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” In this chapter we see the harvest of believers first.
Reaping the Earth’s Harvest
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, (here is some more symbolism; the cloud represents judgment and white represents holiness) and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, (this is Jesus Christ) having (not a crown of thorns but) a golden crown (Greek word Stephanos, the wreath of victory) on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. He is about to reap the first-fruits.)
This is the final judgment. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped. And His wheat, His chosen ones, His elect from every nation were gathered into His barns. His children were called home!
Turn to (Re 20:6) “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Now again we see the distinction. Jesus’ wheat was gathered into His barns.
But what of the chaff, the weeds, the darnel, the tares? What of the counterfeit and the deceived? What of those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness? The scriptures tell us that it is appointed unto men to die once and after that face judgment. All shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. And for the wicked, it is truly a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! See the hammer fall!
Reaping the Grapes of Wrath
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.
Many people believe this has to do with the “Battle of Armageddon” but as I have pointed out, there is no battle. A battle involves two opposing sides, both with the ability to fight. But no one can fight God. Just as grapes are trodden, pressed, crushed, so the wicked are going to be destroyed and punished everlastingly. This is the judgment of the wicked; a hideous terrible slaughter. God’s fury will be poured out on the wicked unbelieving denizens of the earth.
Before He destroys the wicked unrepentant sinners he invites the birds of the air to gather, “so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” (Re 19:18)
And He doesn’t need our help contrary to the teaching of some. We read in (Isa 63:3) “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. Remember the words of Peter who said in (2Pe 2:9) “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished…
What we have seen today is another picture of Judgment Day! It is both awful and wonderful for in it the wicked will go away into outer darkness, but the righteous, into eternal life. He will gather His wheat into His barn but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire! “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 6:23)