Saturday, February 10, 2024

Righteous Judgments

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Righteous Judgments"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As I write this, today is Friday, February 9th. When looking at the opening lines of Revelation 19, we read of John hearing the praises of many people in heaven:

“A great voice of much people in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God;’”

Of the many voices that John has heard during this revelation given to him by the Lord, John is differentiating one voice from another, and from a multitude of voices and God’s thundering voice when He speaks.

Whether studying His Word, or just living my life, what voices am I hearing? Who have I been listening to? And if it’s God, have I been paying close attention? This morning, I met two nice young men, one who made a remark to his friend, referring to the seven days of creation. And, he made mention of attending denominational grammar school. Clearly, he had not read that there were just six days of creation, for God rested the seventh day. I knew what he meant, but he got it wrong. He and his friend were using religious words as they did their work around church. “Shalom” every time they went in and out of the building. They were aware of my presence; maybe they wanted to impress me with their respectfulness in a house of worship, I don’t know.

But who had they been listening to? What have they been reading? It wasn’t God’s voice, and it wasn’t the Bible they had been reading, yet they seemed comfortable speaking to each other, in front of me. They also spoke of Super Bowl Sunday coming up, and neither of them liked beer or alcohol (Bless them!), and neither of them smoked (two thumbs up!). Their conversation revealed they had both had some “church” teachings, but they were not Biblical teachings!

They finished their work and left the church with a sincere “Shalom.” I invited them to come back on a Sunday. And then they were gone. I was surprised that I did not hear “Namaste’, the traditional Hindu greeting, or good=bye

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. …”  - Genesis 3:1

**It’s interesting to note that the serpent came from the field, into the Garden.

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 19:1-10 - "Righteous Judgments"

Summary/Additional Notes:  

As we begin chapter 19 of Revelation, the scene shifts from earth to heaven.  John describes rejoicing and praise.  History, literally, "His story," is finally reaching its culmination and Christ will establish His kingdom on earth.  

From the beginning God is.  He is eternal. He is Creator. He is the beginning and the end.  He is sovereign over the events of the world. He is true to His Word, and His Word will come to pass.  When Jesus returns, He will reward His followers, and punish His enemies.  

As we begin Revelation 19, to this point, the earth has been subjected to a series of judgments by God. These were first described as seal judgments (Revelation 5—8), then through the trumpet judgments (Revelation 8—11), and finally the bowl judgments (Revelation 12—16).

The last two chapters gave a poetic description of the fall of "Babylon," both as a corrupt religious system and as the political empire of the Antichrist (Revelation 17—18).

Here, John witnesses prayers from heaven which precede a great celebration, followed by the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to earth.

With the opening hallelujah, this multitude in heaven gives three attributes that God is worthy to be praised for: His salvation, His glory and His power. The salvation, the glory and the power are ascribed as belonging to our God, He alone is worthy of this great praise. Because God displays these attributes His judgments are true and righteous. God does not just judge for the enjoyment of it, He never judges falsely. When He judges it is because He is the Judge of all the earth and it is true that man has turned away from Him and rebelled against His goodness, so His judgment is true, and His judgment is righteous.

John goes on to tell us that God is worthy to be praised because He has judged the great harlot, which personified Babylon both as the false religious system in chapter 17 and as the economic and political system in chapter 18. The wickedness of both these systems had corrupted the whole earth and the whole earth had lusted after the great harlot committing immorality with her and drinking the wine of her deception, but not only did God judge her for deceiving the world, but He also avenged the blood of His servants who were murdered by her hand.

This tribute of praise is followed by the second hallelujah and a statement that the smoke of Babylon will continue to rise forever. This cannot mean that the city will continue to burn forever, but it will be fulfilled by the unending judgment upon the people who participated in her wicked deeds.

God reigns over all and His plan for this world will be fulfilled, this we can be sure of. God is intimately involved in His creation and all His creation must answer to Him. He is the Judge of all the earth.

This passage this morning is also a reminder to us that we as the Church are the Bride of Christ and the marriage symbolism is beautifully fulfilled in the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church. The wedding contract is consummated at the time that the church is redeemed, the contract was drawn up before the foundation of the world was laid, in eternity past. When Christ comes for His church at the rapture, the second stage of the wedding is fulfilled, the Bridegroom goes to receive His bride and escort her to His heavenly home. The third stage follows which has just been announced, that is the wedding feast or celebration.

Prophecy at its very heart is designed to unfold the beauty and the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this time in history, the present age the Spirit of God is not only to glorify Christ but also to show believers things to come as they relate to the person and majesty of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the major theme of the Scriptures, but also the central theme of prophecy.

After these things (19:1) - Time key - after the destruction of Babylon at the end of the Great Tribulation, and before Christ's kingdom is established.

Great Voice of Many People (19:1) - The great assembly of heaven sounding forth a great chorus of praise.  Some call it the mighty "Hallelujah Chorus," when the innumerable host in the heavens spontaneously break forth in a great response of praise.  The imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ prompts this outburst of praise.

Alleluia (19:1) - The transliteration of this Hebrew word appears four times in the New Testament, all in this chapter (v. 1, 3, 4, 6).  This exclamation, meaning "praise the Lord," occurs frequently in the Old Testament (see Psalm 105:45; 106:1; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1; 117:1).  

The reason for their praise emerges:  
  • God's deliverance of His people from their enemies (vs. 1); 
  • God's justice (vs. 2); 
  • God's permanent destruction of human rebellion (vs.3) 
  • God's sovereignty (vs. 6); 
  • God's eternal communion with His people (vs. 7). 
Judgments (19:2) - The saints have longed for the day of judgment (6:10).  Like God, His followers love righteousness and hate sin.  Righteousness honors God and sin mocks Him.  Believers long for Christ's kingdom where righteousness and truth reign.

Smoke Rose Up (19:3) - Still rejoicing over the fall of Babylon, John interjects the sad observation that the smoke of the burning city will continue ascending eternally.  The unsaved souls will be resurrected for the last judgment and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. 

Four and Twenty Elders (19:4) - Redeemed saints, representatives of the church (see 4:4).

Four Beasts (Cherubim) (19:4) - Represent the host of heaven, all the heavenly angels.

Small and Great (19:5) - All the redeemed will be "His Servants" there, no matter how great or small had been their position in their previous earthly lives.  

Omnipotent (19:6) - He is the Lord God "Almighty".  This is used nine times in Revelation as a title for God (see vs 15; 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 21:22). 

Marriage of the Lamb (19:7) - The church was betrothed to Christ.  In the New Testament, the Church is symbolized as the pure and faithful Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2).  This is the final, perfect eternal union between Christ and His followers.  All sin will have been purged and cleansed, and full fellowship reestablished forever. 

Righteousness of the Saints (19:8) - The practical results of Christ's imputed righteousness granted to believers at salvation.  This is the outward manifestation of inward virtue.

They which are Called (19:9) - Not the church, but those saved before Pentecost, all faithful believers saved by His grace through faith up to the birth of the church (Acts 2). Though they are not the bride, they still are glorified and reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom.  The guests will also include tribulation saints and believers alive in earthly bodies in the kingdom.  The church is the bride, pure and faithful.

Fell at His Feet (19:10) - So magnificent is the mighty angel, John, overwhelmed, falls in worship before an angel.  Not the last time he makes this mistake (22:8, 9).  Both times the angel reminds him not to do this.  God and God alone should be worshiped.  No created thing or being is ever to be worshiped.  All power and authority belong to God, and He alone is worship of all honor, praise and worship.  Angels are merely "ministering" spirits (Hebrews 1:14). 

The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (19:10) - The central theme of both Old Testament prophecy and New Testament preaching is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:1-3, John had warned, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God...Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God."   The testimony of Jesus IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUE PROPHECY.  The most amazing of all revelations is that the Almighty Creator had become the man Jesus, to save His people from their sins. 

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