The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 3) Sermon Preview

We live in a world that is broken.  We all know it.  We feel the effects of this brokenness all the time.  On the personal level this brokenness manifests as addiction, severed and strained relationships, illness (mental and physical), self-destructive behavior, etc.  In the world around us, this brokenness appears as abuse, war, injustice, failed leadership, etc.  This broken and breaking world is an ever present reminder that things are not as they should be.

But what is the cause of this brokenness?  We all see it, but why is it there?  This is not just an abstract notion; how we understand the problem directly impacts the solutions we offer to solve it.

In our world today, various explanations are extended as to why the brokenness exists:

  • “The Devil made me do it.”  While these words may not always be uttered, they are certainly implied in explanations that talk of the darkness of this age (directed by the prince of darkness).  This notion has biblical roots, as Satan really is roaring about like a lion looking for prey.
  • “The System is broken.”  In today’s day and age, systemic causes are often cited to explain broken realities.  Unjust laws or widespread cultural missteps create problems downstream both now and in the future.  This explanation also has biblical roots, as the world system (personified as the “prostitute Babylon” in Revelation 17-19) is a counterfeit system that ultimately hurts (not helps) you and me.
  • “Our Leaders are crooked.”  We often want to attach the problems of this world to our human leaders … the country would be better off with a different President or congress, the state would be better off with a different Governor, our company would be better off with a different CEO, our church would be better off with a different Pastor, etc.  This idea also has biblical roots as the directions leaders set do have real world consequences for the residents of their “kingdoms.”

These are some of the working theories for the brokenness of our world.  But do they explain ALL of what we see … or is there something else at play?

What if there was a time in history when Satan was in jail, and unable to tempt people … and what if in that same timeframe, the world’s laws and systems were completely just and right … and what if in that same timeframe, the world was led by a Perfect leader?  What would happen then?  

Well, believe it or not, Revelation 20:1-10 describes this EXACT TIME.  It looks ahead to the world right after Jesus comes back and runs the clock forward 1,000 years.  What is the world like without Satan, with perfect laws and systems, and led by the PERFECT Son of God, Jesus Christ, and a supernatural/sanctified set of undershepherds.  In THAT world, will the people living in it experience Edenic bliss?  Will sin still have any sway?  

This passage has a lot to say about this … so come Sunday morning as we dive in to see what happens after Jesus returns, and what it says about the sources of the brokenness we all experience (so we can look to the right solutions).  See you Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 at Wildwood Community Church as we are in part 3 of our “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Come … and bring friends!

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, August 28, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 19:11-21.  This message was part 2 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for group discussion or personal reflection.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 19:11-21.
  3. How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime related to the events of Christmas (Jesus’ first coming)?  How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime related to Revelation 19:11-21 (Jesus’ second coming)?  Why do you think we talk about His first coming so much more than His second?
  4. In the message, we walked through the big story of the Bible.  Why do you think it matters to remember the whole story to appreciate how it ends?
  5. Read through again the description of Jesus’ coming again in 19:11-16.  What stands out to you the most about the picture of Jesus provided in these verses?
  6. Jesus here is pictured as the Warrior, King, and Judge.  Are there any ways in which your understanding of who Jesus is needs to change in response to these verses?  If we really remembered who Jesus was, how might we live differently?
  7. What are some things in this world that argue that “darkness is winning”?  How does remembering Jesus’ ultimate victory encourage you today?
  8. Have you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, what are you waiting for/what is causing you to hesitate?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

 

 

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The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #2 8.28.22

 

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The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 2) Sermon Preview

Are you familiar with the Christmas story? I am guessing that most of you reading this post are. I am not talking about the myth concerning Santa Claus and the North Pole, I am referring to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, being born in Bethlehem.
The events related to the first coming of Jesus are some of the most familiar in all of Scripture. We have sets of figurines in our homes that we display seasonally recounting the story. We dedicate a month of sermons every year to remember Jesus arrival. And all this for good reason! The first coming of Jesus IS MASSIVE NEWS. In fact, MASSIVE GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY for ALL THE PEOPLE!!!!!
However, did you know that Jesus is planning on coming back to this earth a SECOND time? That’s right. He is coming. He is coming soon, and the wise man or woman takes this to heart.
Though you may have heard that Jesus is coming again, you may not know as much about the second coming as the first. You probably don’t have a second coming decorative that you set out every August on your mantle … you may have never heard a SINGLE sermon about the event (though you have heard thousands of Christmas messages). Because of this, knowledge of the second coming of Christ may be a mystery to many.
Our ignorance of the event is not because God has not been telling us about it. According to Pastor David Jeremiah (I have not done the independent research on this, but trust his work), one out of our every 30 verses in our Bibles makes an allusion to the second coming of Jesus. It is mentioned in 17 of the 39 Old Testament books, and in 23 of the 27 New Testament books. There are 1,845 total references in our Bibles to Jesus return! That is a LOT of material!!! There is roughly 8x the biblical references to the second coming of Jesus as to the first. God has consistently spoken of this event through the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus Himself. He obviously wants us to know what’s coming!
This Sunday, at Wildwood Community Church, we will be in Revelation 19:11-21 (in part 2 of our “The Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series) as we will be looking at the central passage on Christ’s second advent that vividly describes the day He returns to this earth.
  • If you have never heard a sermon on the second coming … come Sunday. Let’s educate our minds.
  • If you have questions about why this event matters so much … come Sunday. Let’s invigorate our faith response.
  • If you are a prophecy junky, and regularly compare headlines to Scripture … come Sunday. Let’s reconnect this message to our hearts (not just to our heads).
Apparently God wants us to know about the return of Jesus, so let’s see what He has to say together as we gather on August 28 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 service.

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 1) … One more thought

One of my favorite professors during my time at Dallas Theological Seminary was Howard Hendricks. “Prof Hendricks” (as he was affectionately known) was a walking/talking quote machine with his perspectives on life, ministry, leadership, and creativity word-smithed into memorable phrases.
One comment I often heard Prof say related to the time after the sermon each Sunday, when (in prior generations) Pastors would often stand by the door to shake the hands of congregants as they exited the sanctuary. The predictable string of “Thank you Pastors” could have a tendency to inflate the ego of the Minister, so Hendricks wanted his students (who might stand in a line like that at some point in their future) to keep things in a proper perspective. Prof humorously called those compliment lines “the Glorification of the Worm.” What did he mean by that?
Well, when a fisherman goes out to fish, he baits his hook with a worm. When a big catch follows, right thinking people don’t celebrate the worm, they compliment the fisherman! Hendricks point is clear: in ministry, we are the worm, and HE is the Fisherman! When something “catches,” He is the One who is to be praised.
I have long remembered this and contemplate it after events when I have the privilege of speaking. It helps to keep things in proper perspective.
I was thinking about this today pertaining to Revelation 19:10 … a verse I read this morning, but did not reference in my sermon. It says, “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
After an Angel instructs the Apostle John about the upcoming “marriage of the Lamb,” John responds by falling down and worshipping the Angel! The Angel REJECTS this action, reminding John that the Angel is not the One to be celebrated here, but it is God Himself (and God only) that is worthy of our worship. The Angel’s words and prophecy simply point to the One who is to be responsible for this remarkable work.
Like John, we are often overcome with the encouragement received from other Christians. Whether it is a Christian musician that has blessed us with song, an author who has painted vivid pictures with words, a Pastor we love to stream on a podcast or hear preach on a Sunday, or small group or ministry leaders who have made a big impact in our lives … we too are tempted to hear a great message, and then praise the messenger.
While it is good and right for us to express our appreciation to those God uses to bless us, we should also save the true worship and praise for the One who was doing the “fishing” all along. We thank each other … but we worship God.
Just wanted to share this additional thought with you from our study of Revelation 19:1-10 this morning. Join us next weekend at Wildwood (in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services) as we will look at Revelation 19:11-21 and see THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST! Can’t wait.

Lord of New Heaven and Earth (Part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, August 21, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 19:1-10.  This message was part 1 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 19:1-10.
  3. Given your experience, and the times in which we are now living, why do you think so many people have such a curiosity about the Apocalypse (events related to the end of the world)?
  4. In 19:1-5, the population of Heaven proclaims “Hallelujah” multiple – praising God for His judgment on the world’s system (personified as a “prostitute”).   In your understanding, why is it appropriate (even encouraged) to celebrate the judgment of the world’s ways?
  5. The world’s judgment is described in graphic terms in 19:3.  This seems to be a deterrent for us to stop following the world’s ways, and to worship the Lord alone instead.  What things are you currently devoting too much time and energy to that will one day “go up in smoke”?
  6. Have you ever considered that you were being prepared for a “Royal wedding?”  Have you forgotten that Jesus is the King?  Did you forget that you are His Bride?  How would you live your life differently if you consistently remembered who you were and who He is?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #1 8.21.22

 

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Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 1) Sermon Preview

Last week I mentioned that my family went to Washington DC over the summer for vacation.  We saw all the usual sites in DC for the majority of our trip, but one day, we went to one of Washington DC’s newest attractions celebrating one of the oldest documents on earth – the Museum of the Bible.

First of all, let me strongly encourage any of you who visit Washington to tour this museum.  It is a wonderful experience.  Having gone to Israel and seen many ancient manuscripts before, I was skeptical that this museum would be all that unique.  However, I was way wrong.  The museum is not just a collection of old scrolls reminding us of the EXISTENCE of the Bible (though there is some of that) … this is a half-billion dollar building celebrating the IMPACT of the MESSAGE of the Bible on the United States and the world.  Many high tech exhibits bring this story to life.

I mention this today, to highlight one specific exhibit in the museum … a large dynamic exhibit on the YouVersion Bible App.  This app has been downloaded over 500 million times around the world, and is a big way many people are accessing the Word of God today.  In this exhibit, there is a large interactive display showing the most searched terms in the Bible app among the HALF A BILLION users of the YouVersion App in the world today.  Looking over the stats, I saw something interesting:  the THIRD MOST SEARCHED term in the Bible app was “Apocalypse.”  

Apparently, the people of this world are wondering how this ride is going to end … AND they are looking to the Scripture to find the answer.

AND … God has provided that answer.

In Revelation 19-22, the last book of the New Testament concludes with a vivid picture of where everything is headed.  The picture is not of clouds, harps, and halos, but of something much more dramatic.  A Kingdom … and  New Heaven and Earth … where King Jesus is dwelling with His people.  

If you have anything in common with the half a billion YouVersion users, you need search no further.  Come to Wildwood Community Church the next nine weeks as we see where the universe is headed, and learn to trust more and more the One who is driving us there.

This Sunday, we will be in week #1 of our series, “Lord of the New Heaven and Earth” looking at Revelation 19:1-10 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services.  Make plans to be there … and bring friends!

Lord of the Earth (part 7) Supplemental Material

Over the past 7 weeks, we have been studying Revelation 6-18, seeing Jesus revealed as the “Lord of the Earth.”  It has been a joy to preach seven sermons, and also to add additional material on this blog, to help us understand these verses better.  It has been my prayer that this study would not just make us more biblically literate, but also that God would use this section of His Word to increase our faith in Him and our love for others.  If you have had any encouragement from this series, I’d love to hear it!  These have been challenging passages to preach, but I believe God has great stuff in here for us!

I want to share just one additional thought about a section of verses (Revelation 17:7-13) I mostly skipped this morning in the sermon.  These verses further describe the anti-christ.  Just to recap some of what we know of the anti-christ from Scripture:

  • The anti-christ is a human leader who comes on the world scene in the last seven years before Jesus returns to the earth. (Revelation 13:1)
  • The anti-christ will be a human pawn used by Satan to mislead the world.  (Revelation 13:4)
  • The anti-christ will preside over a one world government for a period of roughly 3.5 years.  (Revelation 13:5)
  • The anti-christ’s religious leader (the false prophet) will promote the worship of the anti-christ as a god and persecute all who do not worship him.  (Revelation 13:11-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
  • The anti-christ will be defeated by Christ at His return and judged severely.  (Revelation 19:20)

In Revelation 17:7-13, we see more details about the anti-christ’s human activity and identity.  We see:

 

  • The anti-christ is referred to in this section as the “beast.”  (17:7).  This symbol is consistent with the depiction of the anti-christ in 13:1.  He does not sound like a friendly fellow!
  • The anti-christ is described as “coming from the bottomless pit” (17:8).  This speaks to his association with Satan and Satan’s schemes.
  • The anti-christ is also described as “going to destruction” (17:8).  This is a further reminder that his reign and rule will be short and have no future!
  • The anti-christ will be able to mislead the non-Christians on the earth and deceive them into following him during the last days (17:8).  This will happen (in part) because of a deception that the anti-christ will pull off in the last days.  The anti-christ appears to recover from a fatal injury (as described in 13:3-4) and this will impress the people into following the beast.  This phenomena hinted at inside Revelation 17:7-13 with the repeated phrases, “was and is not and is to come.”  The Beast’s fake resurrection is what is hinted at in those phrases.
  • The anti-christ will be connected to seven heads, which are said to represent both seven mountains (17:9) and seven kings (17:10a).  What is this talking about?  Well, in the first century, the city of Rome was said to rest on seven mountains.  Therefore, the connection of the anti-christ to the one seated on seven mountains seems to indicate that the anti-christ will be the leader of a revived Roman Empire.  I will not go into the detail here, but Daniel 9:24-27’s prophetic calendar also implies that the anti-christ will begin his reign from inside a revived version of the Roman Empire (though it may not go by that name, it will be made up of similar people.)  The seven kings, therefore, would represent a team of seven world leaders who make up the new Roman Empire in the end.
  • The anti-christ will ultimately take control of the whole world, including subjugating the other kings of the revived Roman Empire under his rule in as he establishes his worldwide reign in the middle of the Great Tribulation period (17:10-11)
  • The anti-christ will have ten lieutenants (represented by the ten horns) who will serve with him in his worldwide rule (17:12a).  They will support the one world rule of the anti-christ unto the end (17:13).  It is these world leaders who will assemble the army to fight the Lamb and the Lamb’s people in the ultimate “battle of Armageddon.”  This battle is spoke of in 17:14 … and we will look at more of the specifics of this when we get to Revelation 19 later this summer.
  • The anti-christ is Satan’s last best gasp to take over the world … and with all of his work and effort, he is only able to hold his rule for a VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME (see the reference to “one hour” in 17:12b.)  Further … even this short “reign” of Satan and his beast is only possible because the true Lord of the Earth (Jesus Christ) allowed it!  As we saw this morning in 17:17, God allows the Beast this moment only to expose how truly wicked and awful he really is.  A world completely captive to Satan’s lies is a world no one wants to be a part of … when seen in all of its awfulness.

So, friends, these verses in Revelation 17:7-13 further describe for us the Beast.  If we know Jesus as our Savior, we will not be on this earth when this Beast/anti-christ is wielding his power (since the rapture of the church precedes these events) … but seeing these prophecies unfold, hopefully we are encouraged to stay faithful to our God.  This world and its guiding principles are a terrible substitute for our God.  Let’s follow Him wherever He goes.

Lord of the Earth (part 7) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 26, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 17-18.  This message was part 7 in the “Lord of the Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio/video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 17-18
  3. The picture of Revelation 17:1-18 is of the world system as a “Prostitute” luring the world to embrace its ways.  Based on what we talked about this morning, does the choice of a prostitute as a symbol for the world make sense?  How does that picture resonate with you?
  4. This morning we also talked about the temptation for each of us to have a “price” for which we would sell out Jesus.  For some the price is their life, for others it is their stuff, for others it is their job or reputation, for others it is their pursuit of what “feels right.”  Where are you most tempted to “sell out” and not obey Jesus in your personal life?
  5. The world eventually gets devoured by the same system it is riding today.  It self-destructs in the end, and it wants to wound and rob you of whatever you gained inside its system in the process.  How does this reminder motivate you to stay faithful to Jesus ?
  6. What is the future of the material possessions we cling to today?  How does being reminded of their end impact your stewardship of resources today?
  7. What would it look like for you to “come out from the world’s system” today (18:4)?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The Lord Of The Earth #7 6.26.22

 

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“Lord of the Earth” (Part 7) Sermon Preview

Have you ever taken Driver’s Ed.?  I did.  Long ago in the summer of 1989.  In this class I learned about turn signals, emergency brakes, how to parallel park, and how many feet I should leave between me and the car in front of me.  You know what else I learned?  How important it is to obey all traffic laws.

The majority of the instruction in this course was done in lecture format or “in the car” driving sessions with the instructor.  That was sufficient to teach parking techniques and how to appropriately use the blinker.  But when it came time to talk about the importance of traffic laws … the form of pedagogy changed.  They tried to terrify us.

It began with a survey of the fines you have to pay if you break the law.  Then, it progressed to the discussion of having your insurance or driver’s license cancelled.  However (just to close the deal) the instructors saved the big guns for the end … movies detailing gruesome traffic accidents with the not so subtle admonition – if you break the law this could be you!

This summer, my son is taking Driver’s Ed.  I am curious if the tools of the trade have changed at all.  We will soon find out!

I share this today as we prepare for the seventh and final installment in the “Lord of the Earth” sermon series at Wildwood.  This weekend we will be looking at Revelation 17-18.  In these verses we have a “gruesome video” detailing the dangers of driving the world’s system.

In Revelation 13:11-18, Satan’s end time’s plan was on display.  Through the work of a false prophet, Satan entices all the world to worship the anti-christ as god.  If they do so, they will receive some form of “blessing” and will be allowed to continue to work and profit inside the world’s system.  For those who refuse to worship the anti-christ, they will be marked for persecution and forbidden the chance to work and make a living in this world.  No doubt this pressure will woo some (in the last days) to worship the beast in order to get the political connection and material gain that he promises.  Though the particulars are different, the same pressures rest on us today.  “Follow the world and fit in … don’t follow the world, and prepare to be cancelled!”

But in Revelation 17-18, Jesus (the Great Educator) debuts  films on where riding the system of this world leads.  To no one’s surprise, the anti-christ and his system provide no permanent relief, and will ultimately turn on you and try to devour you.  Further, the material gain the world economic system promises will ultimately fail.  

Jesus shows these movies to “scare us straight.”  And encourage us to trust the One who will never let us down and invest in what is guaranteed to last.  

Make plans to join us this Sunday as we conclude this series together in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 service.   Join us … and bring friends!

 

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation 14 (Lord of the Earth part 6)

In this morning’s message from Revelation 14, we talked about the question, “Who marks your life?”  We saw how there are two primary things that can mark our lives:  this beastly world, or our Creator God.  Against the backdrop of the end times (and the “666” mark of the beast from Revelation 13 vs. the sealing of the 144,000 with the name of the Lord), we were encouraged to have JESUS be the One who most marks our lives.  

Due to a lack of time, we were not able to finish our study of Revelation 14, so I wanted to supplement this morning’s sermon with a quick look at Revelation 14:14-20.  These verses add an emphatic modifier to the question “Who marks your life?”:

Who marks your life makes a remarkable difference.

This truth comes clear as we reflect further on the last section of chapter 14.  In these verses, a variety of angels (and Jesus Himself!) show up to further drive home the importance of our decision.

First up is Jesus, who is seen sitting on the clouds in 14:14-16 with a large sickle in His hand.  The sickle is a farm instrument used at the time of harvest to cut down the crops.  With this sickle, Jesus is going to bring this current era of history to a close, as He “harvests” His people out of the earth.  This is a dramatic picture of what will happen at the end of this age when Jesus will call ALL PEOPLE to His altar and have them give an account for their lives.  This time before the throne will be experienced by both Christians and non-Christians alike.  What we do matters, and one day we will give an account for our lives to God.  In 14:14-16, Jesus swings His sickle and brings one group of people to account. 

After Jesus swings His sickle, an angel emerges, holding an additional sickle (14:17-20).  This angel is encouraged by a THIRD angel to swing that sickle and continue the harvest of the earth.  The third angel (who encourages the second) is identified as the angel “in charge of the fire.”  What does that mean?  Well, the fire referenced here is most likely the fire burning the incense in heaven containing the prayers of the saints … specifically the prayers begging God to bring justice to the earth and avenge the death and persecution of the martyrs (see Revelation 8:1-5).  This angel also obliges and swings His sickle, bringing about the wrath of God upon the earth.

So what is happening in these two swings of the sickle (one by Jesus and the other by the angel)?  

It seems that these two actions represent something that will take place at the end of this age.  The event of Revelation 14:14-16 seems to be referring to Jesus bringing His church before Him at the end of this age, and rewarding us for any faithful service we have rendered to Him (something we will talk about later in our study of Revelation.)  

The event of Revelation 14:17-20 seems to be referring to the judgment of the people of the world who have not trusted in Christ (and who have persecuted the followers of Christ in the last days).  They will receive the wrath of God in the end, and will see their life crushed like a grape on a winepress.  This graphic description seems to line up with what will happen when Jesus really returns to the earth.  The armies of the earth will be gathered in opposition to God and His people, and will be marching on the city of Jerusalem, hell-bent on killing all Christ-followers found there.  However, Jesus intervenes by returning to the earth and slaughtering the enemy armies in the battle of Armageddon (we will see more of this when we look at Revelation 16:15-19 and 19:11-21 later this summer).  This final battle will occur in Israel in the Jezreel Valley that runs from Meggido in the North (Armageddon means – Mt. Meggido), and Edom in the south.  This stretch of land is about 200 miles long … or in ancient measuring standards, about 1,600 stadia long … and apparently, the enemy armies will be slaughtered there in great numbers with their blood splattering as high as a horse’s bridle throughout that region (Revelation 14:20).  (NOTE: we will talk more about this battle when we get to Revelation 19 later this summer).

These swings of the sickle by the “grim reapers” of Revelation 14 are reminders of the importance of having our lives marked by Jesus.  Real consequences are at stake.  If we find our lives only marked by this beastly world, there will be hell to pay (literally).  And, if Jesus is really the One who has marked our lives, then we should follow Him wherever He goes (in obedience) … knowing that we will one day provide to Him an accounting for our lives.  The graphic descriptions of 14:14-20 are left to further impress us that Who marks our lives is of remarkable importance!

So … who marks your life?  I implore you to trust in Jesus Christ while you have time!

Now, in closing … two more thoughts:

  1. The wrath of God is pictured here as wine (14:17-20).  This bitter wine of judgment is prepared by God and will be poured out on all who reject Jesus.  Thinking of wine as a picture of judgment adds greater meaning to the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:42.  There Jesus prays, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”  Jesus is praying just hours before He goes to the cross, and He asks God to remove the cup from Him.  What cup?  The wine cup of God’s wrath!  Yet Jesus says, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”  On the cross, Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath.  All of it.  All who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins see the wine of God’s wrath, earned by our sin, poured out on Jesus who died in our place!  Oh what grace!  The sinless Jesus drinking the wrath intended for sinful us according to God’s plan to redeem us and make us His!  Thank you Jesus for not passing on the Cup, but drinking it for me!
  2. Notice where Jesus is standing in 14:1 (on the rock of Mt. Zion) vs. where Satan is standing in 12:17 (on the sands of the sea).  This picture further drives home the massive differences between being marked by “the beast” and being marked by God.  One is flimsy … as if on shifting sand … while the other is resolute upon the solid rock!  The system of this world is passing away (14:8), and hell awaits those who are only marked by it (14:9-11).  Meanwhile, the Gospel is eternal and universally necessary (14:6-7) and heaven awaits those who are marked by Him (14:13).  

Who marks us is of remarkable importance.  Who marks you?

 

P.S.  One last thing.  Biblical scholars debate which “Mount Zion” is referenced in Revelation 14 … the Mount Zion of earth (around Jerusalem), or the heavenly Mount Zion, talked about in Hebrews 12:22-24.  As I mentioned this morning, I believe this is a reference to the earthly Mount Zion upon the earth.  That is where the 144,000 are located during the time of the tribulation according to Revelation 7, and God’s preservation of them upon the earth (as seen in 12:17, 6, 15-16) is a major contextual clue as to their whereabouts.  That said, a question ensues.  If this is earthly Mount Zion, why is Jesus said to be “with them” there?  After all, Revelation 14:1 PRECEDES Revelation 19:11 when Jesus actually returns to the earth.  If Mount Zion is on earth (in 14:1) how do we understand the reference to Jesus being there?  Well, I think two possibilities exist as explanations here … which I think are actually BOTH true.  First of all, the 144,000 are said to have “followed Jesus wherever He went (14:4).”  This speaks to their Spirit’s following Jesus in obedience in every way.  By saying that Jesus was with them on Mount Zion, it is simply saying that Jesus was WITH THEM IN SPIRIT, protecting them amidst the Satanic attacks of the last days.  Further, the picture of Jesus with the 144,000 on Mount Zion is foreshadowing what will happen when Christ returns in Revelation 19 … He will stand upon Mount Zion … on this Earth (the Earth He is Lord over) … and reign with His people.  

Hope these extra notes are helpful for you in our study of this great Revelation!