#44 The Finale
As I approach this text this morning I am once again reminded of (Ps 2:1-12): those wonderful words which ring so true as we look around us today. Men are trying with all of their might to silence the truth, to abolish the word of God, to destroy anything that smacks of righteousness and holiness. So called believers are turning aside to false prophets whose ear tickling message has deceived them. It is a very disparaging time and we would most certainly lose heart if we did not know Him who upholds all things by the word of His power.
Ours is a heavenly perspective and with this knowledge we too wonder; Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain (Greek word Reek) thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Oh that sinful man would heed this warning! But they don’t do they! We have seen throughout our study of Revelation that men of every age have thumbed their noses at God and His Sovereignty. They have increasingly demonstrated their hatred for God and each day the demonstrations are more open and graphic. But they are imagining a vain thing. They have no idea Whose wrath they are incurring. They boast of ‘getting rid of God’ but their boasts are empty and powerless and vain. For on the appointed day their foot shall slide. (Jer 25:27) “You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.”
Once again our text gives us a perspective on the final judgment, the return of Jesus Christ to destroy the works of men, to judge sin and to bring glory and honor to His Name and to demonstrate to all the world that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. We will see the marriage supper of the Lamb and the destruction of the wicked and we will bow before this thrice Holy God and praise Him who was and who is and who is to come, amen!
Our text is Rev 19. The very first thing we notice is praise in heaven. Why? Because God is God: because He is the winner. The end was never in doubt. Centuries ago Isaiah the prophet spoke of this when in (Isa 52:10) he said…“The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.
Look with me at verse 1. “After these things these things being the destruction of Babylon in chapter 18…after these things…I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! In Hebrew this word means “Praise ye JAH,” or JEHOVAH. JAH means “He who Is”: whereas Jehovah is “He who will be, is, and was.” Here is our Eternal God!
Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! Salvation belongs to God and here we can see a double meaning. We have of course the salvation of our souls which is accomplished by God alone. But also as we have seen in our study, God will come and deliver His people from their enemies. They will be swept away in judgment. And so Salvation belongs to the Lord our God.
Glory belongs to the Lord our God! Who is more glorious than He who spoke creation into existence, who filled the earth with beauty! When we speak of glory we speak of splendor, brightness the kingly majesty which belongs to our Father as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity. We see the glory of the kingly majesty of the Messiah: the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellence of Christ
Honor belongs to the Lord our God for the very nature of His being. He is perfect in Holiness, awesome in majesty, doing wonders. He is God and though now only a few praise Him, on day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! All creation will one day, quite literally fulfill this passage “Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (Ps 29:1-2)
And finally power belongs to the Lord our God! He is described as Omnipotent and when you consider the heavens, the works of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He Himself created out of nothing and set in place, when you consider that it is He who upholds all things by the word of His power, that in Him we live and move and have our being, when you contemplate all these things, do you not tremble at such awesome might. His power is as immeasurable as eternity! What more can we do but bow before Him and worship!
And we worship Him 2 For true and righteous are His judgments; the punishment always fits the crime. His judgment is always just…because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” The judgment of the wicked does not slumber nor sleep. Wicked men and women belch out blasphemies against our Father in Heaven. They blaspheme His word, His Name, His Law, His Holiness. They bring railing accusations against His people, merely because we believe that He is and that His word is the one, the only absolute truth. And understand this; it is going to get a whole lot darker before the dawn. This may not even be the beginning of sorrows. Then again it might!
But the day of Christ’s return will come and He will deliver His people out of the jaws of the lion and gather us to Himself. (Mt 3:12) “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The reaction in heaven is described in verse 3 Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!”
Now verse 5 is interesting. It says, “Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” I say that because no one should have to say, “Worship God! And I ask you: do you worship God? What is your prayer time like? When you come before God do you merely lay your requests before Him and then walk away? Do you spend time praising Him merely to ‘butter Him up’ so that He’ll feel obligated to give you what you want?
Or do you actually just spend time worshiping Him because of the beauty of His holiness, because of who He is, and because of His marvelous grace and mercy which He has bestowed upon you! I am convinced that there is not much worshiping on the part of the people of God!
You may be saying, “I don’t know how to worship like what you are talking about.” And unfortunately, sometimes we Calvinists are really stiff when it comes to that. We are afraid of looking like Pentecostals with their excesses and we don’t want to be involved in that. Well, let’s look at the word worship for a moment. The Greek word is proskuneo and the definitions are very interesting. It means to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to kiss the hand in token of reverence. Among the Orientals there is the practice of falling upon the knees and touching the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence. In the NT it is seen by kneeling or prostration to do reverence and respect. Is this what you do when you go before the Lord?
Now take a lesson from the word of God as you see worship in action! 6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This is worship! It is the sound of people who love God. It is the sound of church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, who pour out their hearts in worship to God, the Judge of all, for His great mercy in granting salvation. These are the voices of the spirits of the righteous made perfect. I as you to think on these things!
Now look at verse 8 the Church is before the Lord, the Marriage supper of the Lamb has commenced “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Could this be an illustration of rewards? I don’t know. It could speak of fruit. In (Re 14:13) we read “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.” Jesus spoke of remaining fruit in (Joh 15:16) when He said, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
There is a lastingness to our fruit. That is if we have built with the right materials. Paul said in (1Co 3:11-15) “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. What kind of material are you using?
Let’s continue. Verse 9 says “Then he this would be the angel who told everyone to worship, he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” Amen. Many people believe they are ‘safe’ that they are born again when in reality they have never truly repented of their sins.
Then there are these uncomfortable words of Jesus: (Mt 22:14) “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Many people hear the gospel and walk away, or receive it with joy for a moment and then walk away, or receive it and then get caught up in the cares of the world and walk away. Few actually hear the call of God in Jesus Christ to come forth from death to life.
Very few strive to enter the small gate. The enemies of the cross, the world, the flesh and the devil all fight to throw us off course. Jesus said that we must strive to enter. To strive means to exert ourselves to the full, to strain every nerve in our struggle with these opponents.
And understand that on our own we cannot overcome them. It is only by God’s enabling grace that we have any hope of heaven. Apart from Him we can do nothing but we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. I think I finally understand what Jesus meant when He said in (Mt 11:12) “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Mt 11:12NIV) “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men (struggling against the enemy of our souls) lay hold of it.”
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.”
And “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”
And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” What God has said, He will do! He will accomplish all of His good pleasure in both the salvation of His children and in the destruction of the ungodly. And in His Holy Temple everything will say “GLORY!”
The next verse is a deterrent against anyone wanting to even entertain the thought of worshiping angels. John was caught up in the worshipful atmosphere and lost his head for a moment. We read in verse 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him.
Here in this verse we see the difference between the Holy angels of God and demons. Demons would love to be worshiped. But notice what a Holy angel’s reaction is. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! He is the true God and the only one worthy of worship. I have only spoken the word of God “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” These are His words, therefore, worship Him alone!
Now we come to that passage which is so misused by so many people. It is the place where we have what is commonly referred to as THE BATTLE OF ARMAGGEDON! You’ve heard many preachers wax eloquent of the great battle that is waged against the forces of good and evil. They bill it as “Jesus versus the devil”. Now in a sense that is true but in the sense that there is any kind of battle, there they go way off base. Let’s let the scriptures show us the truth once for all.
In verse 11 the stage is set as we read…“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. White is the symbol of purity. Whenever you see a portrait of one of the old generals, he was always sitting on a white horse. It is also a symbol of victory. “And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His cause is perfect and right and just.
Men have thumbed there noses at Him for centuries and He has endured with much longsuffering these vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. But the day of grace will come to a close one day. One day God will shut the door of His mercy forever and ever. Our text describes that day. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, we saw this back in chapter 1.
That Holy gaze sees all. He sees His true children and those who are merely pretenders. He knows His sheep by name. He knows the wicked intimately as well. With His blazing, penetrating gaze He looks deep within the hearts of men. His word divides to the bones and marrow, to the soul and the spirit, to see all of our motivations, all of our secret thoughts, plans and schemes. The eyes of the Holy one are always upon His creation. His gaze is all searching and penetrating as fire.
We see that…on His head were many crowns. Not just one like most earthly kings, nor 10 like the beast, but many crowns. And He is worthy to wear these crowns for He is King of kings and Lord of lords! He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. There are unfathomable mysteries in the Godhead that even glorified saints will be unable to grasp. What we know comes from the scriptures alone. In reference to this I ask you to look at (Re 3:12) where we read that “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Continuing in verse 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, Some say that it is His blood through which He conquered the devil at the cross. Others believe that it is the blood of His enemies. Let it suffice that His robe is dipped or sprinkled with blood…and His name is called The Word of God. This is Jesus Christ, our conquering King.
It is interesting that He does not go to battle alone. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. It is not that He needs help. I will offer my speculation concerning what all this is about. Perhaps this army is made up of His children, those hated by the world because of their love for Jesus and their unswerving stand for Him. Perhaps as these come riding down with Jesus, those enemies of righteousness will see them and recognize them as those who were martyred for their faith. This will further strike fear into their hearts as they will see that truly they were able to kill their bodies but after that had nothing more they could do! They had testified that God would raise them up and here is living breathing proof of that.
15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. He but speaks the word and they will fall. Just as He spoke the world into existence with “Let There Be!” so He will speak these sinners out of existence by the word of His power! And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself will punish them for all eternity in Hell. We read further that He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Look with me at (Isa 63:1-6) “Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? 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. 4 “For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. 5 “I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. 6 “I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
Continuing in our text 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And all the kings of the earth will tremble at the sight of Him. I don’t believe there will be any bravado left in the inhabitants of the world. That this is a complete slaughter will be obvious in a moment. That this is a certain victory for the Lord God is evident in verse 17 where we read…Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” In the words of my good friend Buck its, “TROPHY TIME!”
See the last gasp of sinful man. 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. They have come to the preordained place of execution. The Lord God will have put hooks in their jaws and drawn them to the valley of Megiddo.
According to the prophet (Joe 3:14) there will Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The end is so anticlimactic as to be laughable. Whoever thought they could fight against God are a thousand fools. The finite has no power against the Infinite. Mortal cannot defeat the Divine. The armies of the world all gather for one purpose, to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. And then He shall have them in derision. He will make them look ridiculous.
There was a science fiction novel titled “Not with a bang but a whimper.” That about describes it. Verse 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.