Chapter 19: 1-10
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, 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.’ 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!’
“5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!’ 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.’ 8 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.
“9 Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘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.’ 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. 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! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’”
Last week we talked about the world mourning the fall of the system of Babylon. I am sure that in the Tribulation, there will be a Head Office for the system of Babylon, maybe a Head City. But make no mistake; this is a system. A system that has transcended time, wars, tragedies, the death of human leaders, and it is here and alive and doing very well today. We see a system that questions all there is about God. It has permeated our schools, our entertainment, our literature, our politics and our very existence.
The Bible clearly states that it is the Fool who says in his heart there is no God (Psalms 14:1 and 53:1), but today it is the Christian who is called the Fool by society around us. It is foolish, they say, to accept the fact of Creation; foolish they say, to accept that Jesus is the ONLY WAY; look at all the religions, how can just one be right? It is foolish they say, to live by the moral code of the Ten Commandments. Yet we still arrest people for murder and stealing, we see the effects of adultery, it is still against the Law to lie under oath, and covetousness is bankrupting most of us; keeping up with the Joneses is killing us.
We have come face to face with a generation of children, even in the Lord’s churches, that are disobedient to their parents; some hold their parents’ hostage as adult children living at home and using up their parents’ resources without conscience. The system of Babylon has created a sector of persons who feel entitled to the ‘good life’ at the expense of others. Many refuse to work, yet expect all the benefits of those that work.
The system has peppered our political landscape with abortion-loving, climate-change indoctrinated, welfare-loving and anti-capitalism politicians that are killing our economies with taxes and fees. And lastly, the system of Babylon has filled our churches – and even more sadly, our pulpits – with people who hate the truth. They hate the conviction of the Holy Spirit, as He does His job of purging us and cleaning us as we are saved and then begin to conform to the image of Jesus.
They hate the boundaries that God puts in place to protect us, and they despise His commandments. But they love His benefits. And the system of Babylon has replaced Godly preachers who love the study and teach the scriptures, with pre-fab sermonettes that never get to the meat of the Scripture that God painstakingly oversaw for us to have, for some 1,500 years.
From what I hear in the emails that I get, there are very few pastors who broach the subject of eschatology, and most never deal with the OT prophets. One will never get to the end of the Bible and put it aside if you are an avid student. There is always more to learn, more for the Lord to show you; there is always another level to dig down to, and there is always something that you missed the last 100 times that you read it.
In complete contrast to the mourning that takes place on earth, there is GREAT REJOICING in Heaven. A great multitude, we are told, will be rejoicing. Let us look at this together and find some reasons to rejoice even here on earth as we look ahead.
The Great Multitude, verses 1, 6
If you were to listen to the world around us, it would be possible to believe that us Christians are on the losing end of the numbers game. In a recent conversation with a devout atheist, he pointed out that about 30% of people recently surveyed in North America counted themselves as having no religious affiliation. But in real numbers, according to a survey in 2014, only about 3-4% of the US population describe themselves as atheists.
In 1 Kings 19:18, we have God’s answer to Elijah the prophet when he is complaining that he was the only one left in Israel that worships God. God states to him, Elijah, that He, God, has more than 7,000 persons who have not bowed to Baal. Let that sink in; God has more than 7,000 men (not including their families) that were His servants. God was not losing the battle at all for the hearts of people.
Right now, there are ministries all around the world reaching the lost for Jesus. Our church is part of a small Baptist group called the American Baptist Association. We have missionaries in Russia, Japan, South America, parts of Africa, Thailand, France, Central America, Ukraine, as well as throughout the US and some in Canada. We have short-term mission teams that do 4-to-5-day mission trips to help churches and missions spread the Word of God. We are a part of the Bible Project, and we have teams that go to every major sporting event in the world and hand out Bibles and share the Gospel.
Right now, we have a team of 4 men translating the Bible into the Yefta language so that tribes can read the Bible in their own language; and on, and on I can go. We are just a small group of the Lord’s churches doing this work. Imagine what the larger groups are doing to get the Message of the Gospel out.
I have a dear friend who ministers to prisoners, and every year this ministry sees over 100 men get saved. God has people everywhere, people that you don’t even know about and never will see until we get to Heaven. God has a great multitude. The devil wants you to think that he is winning; he is not. God’s grace is greater than the wiles of the devil, and God’s Holy Spirit is still speaking to the hearts of men and women all over the world.
Every day in some city, some town, on some corner, in some ministry setting, online, face to face or at a hospital bed, people come to Jesus. A Great Multitude. We will be slack-jawed when we see the Great Multitude in the Kingdom. We will be there rejoicing at the fall of the system of Babylon with the Great Multitude.
Our shouts of “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, 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” will drown out the lamenting on earth. No one will care about the burning Babylon, at least not anyone in the Great Multitude.
People sometimes picture Heaven as this quiet and serene place where we are going to rest (relax) for eternity. But the Bible tells us that Heaven is loud, full of life, a busy place with the work of the Kingdom going on. If you are looking for serene, I do not think Heaven is for you.
Folks, we are part of a Great Multitude, one that will sing the praises of our God and Savior and shut the mouths of the angels. They sing out of obedience, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, but we sing from hearts of gratitude, hearts of thanks and hearts that understand that were it not for the grace of God, were it not for His mercy, were it not for His love, we would be burning in Hell. And so we drown out the angels, we drown out the mourning on earth, and we make the noise of the redeemed.
The Bride of Christ, verses 7-9
The time has come for the wedding of the Lord to his wife the New Testament church. The betrothal time has come to an end, and the time for the union has come. Jesus told us about the betrothal in John 14:1-3,
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
In a Jewish betrothal, a friend would make an agreement on behalf of the groom in negotiating a marriage. In our case, that friend is the Holy Spirit; he lives in us as the ‘down payment’ on our salvation. Jesus, the Bridegroom, has returned to Heaven, his home, to prepare a place for us, just like a man would in Biblical days to prepare a home for his new bride. I use “the bride” because, unlike our modern engagements that can be broken at a moment’s notice, the betrothal in Biblical times could only be broken by the issue of a ‘writ of divorce.’ You will recall in Matthew 1:18-19,
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.”
Betrothal was considered marriage; and as such, Joseph thought that Mary had been unfaithful to him. He was a just man, so he was not going to make a public spectacle of her; he would then simply issue a writ of divorce and end their relationship had not God intervened with an angelic message.
Jesus had come and betrothed us as his wife, those of us that make up the New Testament churches. He, as was the custom, went away to prepare a place for us; and at the Rapture he came for us, suddenly.
Remember the parable of the Ten Virgins. The bridegroom came in the middle of the night, and only those that were prepared went into the Wedding reception. Notice that the Virgins all knew that the bridegroom would return, but NOT when. They needed to be ready. As such we need to be ready to meet the Bridegroom at any time when He returns. We need to be saved, to have the Holy Spirit represented by the oil, in us. Then when the Bridegroom appears, we will be ready to attend the feast.
In Revelation 19, that time of the Wedding Feast has come; the system of Babylon is dead. The next event is a massive war that will usher in the Millennial Kingdom. Before that happens, the Lord and His Bride are united forever.
This idea that a saved person can lose their salvation is ludicrous. God tells us he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Thus, if you are betrothed to the Lord Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in you, God will never divorce you. It simply will not happen. You are His and He yours. Jesus fulfilled the role of the husband laid out for us in Ephesians 5:25-32,
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherished it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Will you be at the marriage supper of the Lamb? I pray that you will.
Worshipping Angels, verse 10
There is not much to say here. And I hate to end on a downer note; but God put it here, and we must address it. John tried to worship the angel, and he was immediately stopped by the angel. The angel points out that he and the other angels are just fellow servants like we are. They are different, but not God, and never will be. Do not worship angels and be wary of those that do and encourage you to as well. True angels of God will never allow you to worship them, ever. This is idolatry.