April 20, 2012
By: John Barnett
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The Tide of the War for the World has turned in Revelation 14.
Jesus stands on His holy hill Zion.
Beneath Zion the Beast from the Abyss empowered by Satan has crawled ashore.
On the earth death stalks all who refuse Satan and turn to Jesus.
Around Jesus on Mt. Zion stand His servants.
They stay SECURE in the face of danger for Jesus is with them.
They stay JOYFUL in the midst of desolation for Jesus is with them.
They stay PURE in a sea of filth for Jesus is with them.
They stay TRUTHFUL in a world of lies for Jesus is with them.
They stay HOPEFUL in the land of doom for Jesus is with them.
No place in all the Word of God is the COMPASSION of Jesus more clearly seen. Discover the COMPASSION OF JESUS in sending the everlasting gospel through the 144,000 witnesses, the angelic messenger and announcing the limits of His compassion (14).
When Jesus walks this world of woe His heart wells up with compassion. The most frequent emotion of Jesus noted by those who knew Him, walked with Him and observed Him closely for 3 ½ years is COMPASSION. To see Jesus is to see the love, mercy and compassion of God toward fallen sinners.
Doubters look around them at their circumstances, the faithful look to Jesus. We are transported to Mount Zion, the first time Zion is mentioned in the book. Zion the place where God dwells on His Throne signals that the invaision has been launched. The general Himself, The Lamb of God stands on Zion with His own and signals the end is near.
There are two parts to this chapter. In the first 7 verses we see the DELIGHTS OF LIFE WITH JESUS: With Jesus is:
• SECURITY IN THE FACE OF DANGERS V. 1-2
• JOY IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION v. 3
• PURITY IN THE SEA OF FILTH v. 4a
• TRUTH IN A WORLD OF LIES v. 5
• HOPE IN THE LAND OF DOOM. v. 6-7
In the second half of this chapter we are confronted with the DOOM OF LIFE WITHOUT JESUS.
• Apart from Jesus there is only v. 8-11 hopeless and indescribable torment
• A note of hope sounds in v. 12-13
• Apart from Jesus there is only v. 14-20 senseless and immeasurable bloodshed.
REMEMBER THE TIDE OF THE BATTLE
TURNS IN REVELATION 14
• Revelation 6-13 basically shows the world RUINED BY MAN. With all restraint removed, with passions allowed to run their course, with Satanic power unrestrained, with evil plans long held back, but to full mammon, it is awful.
• But from Revelation 14-20 we see a new perspective, the world RESCUED BY GOD.
There are two parts to this chapter. In the first 8 verses we see the DELIGHTS OF LIFE WITH JESUS: With Jesus are the v. 1-5 blameless, unstoppable witnesses: note the contrast of their character to the world about them.
• SECURITY IN THE FACE OF DANGERS v. 1-2 as the world plunges into desolation and destruction here stand living proof of God's care. Heaven as ray Steadman says , as it is pictured in the Bible, is actually another dimension of existence, just behond the reach of our five senses. You can be in heaven at the same time you are on earth. As I read these prophetic passages of Scripture, I become more and more convinced that this is clearly the case: the church is with the Lord -- but the Lord is on the earth throughout those seven turbulent years! The church is with the Lord, but it is invisible to the rest of the world, ministering to this select group of 144,000 Jews. During this time, Jesus will periodically appear to these living Jesus, standing with them and empowering them for their mission.If this is true, then Jesus will be in exactly the same condition with them as He was with the eleven disciples after His resurrection, when for a period of 40 days He appeared to them from time to time. As you examine the gospel accounts of the time between the Lord’s resurrection and ascension, you find He was often with them in various times, various places, and suddenly He would not be with them. It was as if He would step back into the realm of invisibility after appearing for a while in their midst.
• JOY IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION v. 3 notice that rising above the screams of anguish and hatred rises the beauty of a new song. Like Jeremiah in the smoking ruins of Jerusalem in Lamentations, we see God's faithfulness anywhere anytime. These saints express their intimacy with Jesus by a new “song no one knows but them”. This is a second of three new treasures God gives His servants. v.1 has a new name, v. 3a has a new song and v. 3b has a new destination. When we are redeemed by the substitutionary work of Jesus on our behalf we receive a NEW NAME to show we are His new creations in Christ. Then we get to live full of the Holy Spirit and we experience that NEW SONG which we sing all through life
• PURITY IN THE SEA OF FILTH v. 4a purity no immorality in a world of v. 8 universal fornication, the wine of passion. Notice the great benefit of purity is v. 4b SPIRITUAL SENSITIVITY they follow the lamb wherever He goes! This is not a reference that physical love is sinful. Rather they have neither been involved in the licentiousness of immorality not in the spiritual sense these have never committed the spiritual adultery of loving the world James 4:4-5 and on apostasy as in II cor. 11:2.
• TRUTH IN A WORLD OF LIES v. 5 honesty no deceit. And what is marvelous is that the Holy Spirit presents these martyrs as the heroes of the Book of Revelation. The Company of the Lamb are those who rest in the absolutely delights of His SECURITY, JOY, PURITY and TRUTH. They are like Jesus of Whom it was said 1 Peter 2:22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
• HOPE IN THE LAND OF DOOM. THESE SERVANTS STANDING with in v. 6-7 are witnesses of the endless, unchangeable gospel: Mankind’s only hope is to bow to their Creator; reach out to their redeemer; or face Him as Judge.
Any of any age--law, Church, kingdom--is by the sovereign grace of God, on the basis of the work that was accomplished by our Lord’s atoning death. The eternal gospel is a proclamation to all who dwell upon the earth and to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. There are three elements of the Eternal Gospel which are always present:
Conviction “Fear God”
Conversion “Give him glory”
Consecration “Worship Him”
God, in His infinite grace, will thus send forth a mighty angel, flying back and forth across the skies, loudly proclaiming the gospel from one place to another, covering every nation and tribe and speaking in every language so that no one at the coming judgment would be able to say he hadn’t heard.
Note also that the gospel he preaches is the “everlasting gospel.” There is nothing new or different about it. Paul, in fact, had warned that if an angel from heaven came preaching some other gospel than the same gospel which he (Paul) had preached, that angel should be rejected as one accursed of God (Gal. 1:8). This, plus the fact that John himself, who certainly knew what the true gospel was, called the angel’s message the everlasting gospel, is conclusive proof that this gospel is the true and only gospel.
It is the gospel which we are to preach, which believers in all ages were commanded to preach, and which the angel will preach. The gospel is everlasting. It is good news from God, and is exceedingly broad in scope. Many descriptions cannot exhaust its meaning, even though they can give us many insights to its nature. It is:
1. the gospel of God (1 Pet. 4:17),
2. the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13),
3. the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24),
4. the glorious gospel (2 Cor. 4:4),
5. the gospel everlasting (Revelation 14)
6. the gospel of peace (Eph. :15),
7. the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19) is that He is Creator (thus rightful able to control and judge His planet); Redeemer (able to save all who come to Him);
The gospel is often defined as the substitutionary death, burial, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus, based on 1 Cor. 15:1-4, where the word is used in its central occurrence (out of 101 total occurrences). Although this is surely the central focus of the gospel, it by no means exhausts the sweeping scope of its meaning, which encompasses the complete work of Christ from eternity to eternity.
It is significant that the first time the word is used (Matt. 4:23), it is in reference to “the gospel of the kingdom,” looking forward to the great day when Christ will be universally acclaimed as King of kings. The final occurrence is here in Revelation 14:6, where it looks back to the creation. The gospel of Christ (“the good news about Christ”) is that He is the Creator of all things (and therefore able to control and judge all things), the Redeemer of all things (and therefore able to give the uttermost them that come unto God by Him), and the Heir of all things (therfore able and certain to bring the kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven). The creation is the foundation of the gospel, the second coming is the blessed hope of the gospel, the cross and the empty tomb constitute the power of the gospel. A gospel without the creation and the consummation is as much an emasculated gospel as one without the cross and empty tomb. One does not really reach the gospel unless he places and teaches all these together in their true majesty and fullness.
The gospel with a creation message is especially understandable to us today. We see the results in our world of the hundred year reign of evolutionary deadening of society’s mind. Murder becomes acceptable, immorality commonplace and anarchy follows when we become mere protoplasm adrift in a godless Cosmic vacuum.
The condemnation of God is that humans now worship “the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). Having deceived themselves with this monstrous lie, they have ever since taught this falsehood to all who would hear until, as the Scripture says, Satan has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
In the second half of this chapter we are confronted with the DOOM OF LIFE WITHOUT JESUS.
• Apart from Jesus there is only v. 8-11 hopeless and indescribable torment and judgment. Notice torment without rest! The wonderful contrast is given about the saints who patiently endure
• A note of hope sounds in v. 12-13 as the Holy Spirit speaks for the 1st time in this book, the second and final time is in 22:17 with the last gospel invitation in God's Word. With Jesus there is always patience, obedience, faith and hope of blessings! This 2nd beattitude is of hope in the midst of martyrdom and pain. John is also commanded for the 10th time here to write down the Word of God. God's Word is so precise and inspired.
• Apart from Jesus there is only v. 14-20 senseless and immeasurable warfare and bloodshed . II Th 1:9 they said God leave me alone, and so He does ! Steadman states: Our earliest recorded history is largely a history of war and atrocity. For example, Shalmanesar III of Assyria, who ruled from his capital city of Nineveh, boasted in his court records, “With the blood of the enemy soldiers, I dyed the mountain as if it were wool.” In recent years, we have learned more sophisticated and efficient ways of killing than the spears and swords of ancient Assyria. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, 70,000 lives were extinguished in a single flash. And yet, so horrifying is the threat of nuclear war that we easily forget that atomic weapons were never necessary to produce mass slaughter.
Hell is always described with the same eternal duration as God and Heaven! 11x in Revelation 8x God and 3x Hell! There is a growing departure by many away from the doctrine of eternal punishment. But, if they refuse to accept that gift of His grace, then they must remain in their lost condition, eternally deserving, eternally provoking, and eternally receiving the holy wrath of God.
The greatest illustration of this is seen in the actions of Judas. Yet, he was unmoved. He saw no beauty in Christ after all he had witnessed in Him. In the end, caring only for gain, dominated by self, he was ready to sell the Lord for the price of a slave.
God has three choices in the face of human rebellion:
➢ One: He can indulge it and allow it to go on forever. But in that case all the cruelty, injustice, hatred, pain, and death that now prevails on the earth will go on forever, too. God does not want that--and neither does man.
➢ Two: God can force man to obey and control the human race as if it were a race of robots. But to take away our free will would be to take away our capacity to give our love to God freely. Love cannot be forced,.
➢ Three: This is God’s only real choice. He must withdraw Himself from those who refuse His love. He must let them have their way forever. Since God is necessary to our existence, the decision to reject God is a decision to plunge ourselves into the most terible sense of loneliness and isolation a human being can know.
➢ Ultimately, it is we who choose whether God will judge us. It is we who decide either to accept or refuse His grace, love and forgiveness. It is we who choose everlasting life--or everlasting death.
Before this book is over, we will look beyond these scenes of judgment, beyond the slaughter, beyond the misery that is to come upon the earth. There is a new day coming after the judgment, after the day of the “winepress.” When “Jacob’s trouble” is finally over, Israel will blossom and spread its branches throughout the whole earth like a vine, and Israel’s Messiah will reign. It will be the long dread-of Utopia.
But before that morning dawns, the long night of the human race will grow darker.
The most often noted emotion of Christ’s ministry was His compassion. No less than 13 times Jesus was shown to be “moved with compassion”. We need a good dose of His compassion. A great student of the life and ministry of Christ was the Apostle Paul. He said his ministry was motivated by Christ's love. What did the compassion of Jesus look like? Let’s examine it briefly:
Jesus was moved with compassion
For the confused.
For the sick and suffering.
For the weak.
For the desperate.
For the persistent.
For the helpless.
For the hopeless.
For the bereaved.
For the misfortunate.
For the repentant.
How do we develop compassion as Christ's servants? A good place to start is in the following three areas. John Ruskin a famous poet and art critic first pointed out these three key areas as he described a good artist. Ruskin distilled down to three the laws of an enduring artist. An artist must possess:
1. AN EYE TO SEE and appreciate all the beauty they wish to capture on the canvas
2. A HEART TO FEEL and register within the picture the atmosphere and the beauty of the scene, and finally
3. A HAND TO PERFORM by transforming a blank canvas into an image of what the eye has seen and the heart felt.
Now think for a moment. These are the same three skills a compassionate disciple of Jesus must learn..
1. Do you have an eye to see how helpless our world is? There are 6 billion sheep most of them without a true knowledge of the good Shepherd! There were only 250 million in Christ's day. The population of our world is 24 times that today! What do you see in a crowd? A business man sees a potential market, an educator sees a potential classroom, a politician sees potential voters. Nearly everyone thinks in terms of personal benefit. Jesus was moved with compassion at the sight of a crowd, and that compassion led Him to give His life on a cross of wood, writing a letter of love for the sins of the world.
2. Do you have a heart to feel how much they need Jesus ? The word in the Bible for compassion means ‘to suffer together with’. This emotion of compassion constitute a language that is understood universally. Compassion can be seen and felt by all because it is the language of the heart that needs no translation to be understood.. We of the instant gratification, veneer thin depth of commitment end of the 20th century dwellers have lost so much compassion.. Superficiality of emotional expression from TV has seeped into our spiritual lives. We are good actors but often poor fellers of others pain. Ask God for a heart of compassion like Christ's.
Do you have hands to perform loving works in the name of Jesus ? What ministry are you involved in today touching the lives of people for Jesus ? Can you name one? Why don’t you start in our children’s ministry and then expand into the Rescue Mision, Crisis Pregnancy Center and so on?