Revelation 034 – Under New Management

Revelation 034 – Under New Management
Revelation 11:14-19 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 31, 2019 • Revelation


Andy Woods

Under New Management       3-31-19

Revelation 11:14-19       Lesson 34

Good morning everybody.  Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 11 and verse 14, as the Lord allows it trying to cover verses 14-19 this morning.  The title or our message this morning is Under New Management.  And as you know we’ve been continuing on through the Book of Revelation.  We have studied the first six trumpet judgments and we indicated that in between a six and a seven there’s a break in the action.  So in between the fifth trumpet leading to the sixth trumpet but before the seventh trumpet is sounded these judgments are coming to the earth so we’ve a break in the action where something is inserted to kind of explain a little more of what’s happening in the chronology.

And so just like there is a break in the action between seal six and seal seven there’s a similar break in the action between trumpet six and trumpet seven and we’ve already worked our way through that insertion.  The announcement of no more delay; chapter 10, .  The end of the times of the Gentiles, chapter 11:1-2.  And then the last couple of Sundays having spent our time in verses 3-13, the ministry of the two witnesses.  And now that this chronological insertion is over what happens is you just get back on the beaten path and the chronology starts to march again, which takes us to trumpet judgment number seven which we’re going to be studying this morning.

We can kind of  divide these verses, verses 14-19 into three parts.  Number one, there’s a transfer that’s happening, something completely is happening to transfer ownership.  We see that in verses 14-15.  In heaven once this happens they can’t help themselves but to praise the Lord, verses 16-18 we see that praise and worship.  And that will lead to verse 19 where we have an anticipation of things to come, the coming bowl judgments.  But notice, if you will, this legal transference and you see it there beginning in verse 14 of chapter 11.  Notice what it says: “The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.”

Now when you go back to Revelation 8:13 you might recall we read these words.   “…Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.”  And then you go over to chapter 9, verse 12 and it says, “The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.”  And what we discover is woe number one is the fifth trumpet where demons were released for five months to torture humanity.   And then the second woe is the sixth trumpet which involved the destruction of one-third of humanity.

And now we have the third woe which is about to take place with the sounding of trumpet judgment number seven.  Now what’s interesting is when we get into verses 14-19 there is no judgment described, there is a celebration.  And so we might ask ourselves, well how in the world could  trumpet seven be woe number three when trumpet seven really doesn’t bring a specific judgment to the earth?  Well that’s where understanding these judgments as pulling out like a telescope is very helpful.  As we’ve tried to explain the seventh seal will unleash the trumpets; the seventh trumpet will unleash the bowls, so the whole thing sort of pulls out like a telescope.

And so if trumpet seven releases the bowl judgments, the worst of the worst of the judgments, we can understand why trumpet seven is actually the worst judgment of all of them, because in trumpet seven is contained the various bowl judgments.  That’s why the Book of Revelation, chapter 10 and verse 7 says, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”  How could the mystery of God be completed?  How could the judgments of God be completed with the seventh angel and the seventh trumpet?  I mean, how could the whole thing wrap  up with the seventh angel and the seventh trumpet?

The answer to that is the seventh trumpet unleashes the bowl judgments.  And when we understand it that way suddenly Revelation 10:7 starts to make an awful lot of sense.  [Revelation 10:7, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”]

But notice what happens as this trumpet is sounded with trumpet number seven.  It says in verse 15, “The seventh angel sounded” so now we’re back on our chronology, and look at what this says here, and I am beginning to believe that these may be, or this may be the most important verse in understanding the whole Bible. I think I say that every week with every verse.  But it says here “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,” look at this, [16] “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

As this seventh angel sounds this seventh trumpet a voice, or voices from heaven talk about how the kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our God and it is Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.  And it’s difficult to understand the significance of this verse and why there’s a celebration in heaven unless we understand the current condition of the earth.

Going back to the very beginning God vested our forbearers, Adam and Eve, with authority over the earth.  He said, “….Let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God told our forbearers, Adam and Eve, to “subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  [Genesis 1:28]

God’s original design was to rule the world through a man, the first Adam, along with his wife.  And how that arrangement was perverted in Genesis 3, as Satan, taking the form of a serpent came into Eden and enticed them with a lie and how they stopped ruling the animal kingdom for God but listening to the animal kingdom, in this case a talking snake, to rebel against God.  And the moment that happened, Genesis 3 being the pivotal chapter, is the moment that Satan became the ruler of this present world.  As you go through the Bible you see this stated  matter of factly; Satan is running the current world system.  God asks Satan where he came from in the Book of Job, the oldest book of the Bible, and Satan says, “From going back over the earth, to and fro over it.”   Job 1, verse 7, Job 2 verse 2.    [Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” Job 2:2, The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’”

In fact, the whole earth, the kingdoms of this world was presented by Satan to Jesus in the middle temptation there in Luke 4:5-7.  [Luke 4:5, “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  [6] And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  [7] Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’]

All the kingdoms of this world Satan says to Jesus have been given to me.  Given to you by who?  By Adam, and I can give them to whomever I want, so just worship me and we’ll all be Yours.  And you’ll notice that Jesus never second guessed whether Satan had that authority but very clearly he had it.  We know that the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one., 1 John 5:19.  [1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”]

And consequently as you move through the Bible you see Satan is described as running this world system.  I’m not saying that God isn’t sovereign and God doesn’t intervene when He wants but when you look at the course of the present age, ever since Genesis 3, you learn that it is under hostile authority to God, hostile management.  Satan is called the prince of this world, I have the Scriptures all there on the screen if you’re interested in looking these up on your own.

[Satan as the ruler of this world: Job 1:7; 2:2, Job 1:7, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”    Job 2:2, “The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”    Luke 4:5-7, “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. [7] “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”     John 12:31, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”     John 14:30, “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;    John 16:11, “and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”    2 Corinthians 4:4, “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”      Ephesians 2:2, “in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”    1 John 4:4; “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”   1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”]

He’s called the God of this age or the God of this world. (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).  [John 12:31, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”   John 14:30, “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;” John 16:11, “and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”]

He’s called the prince and power of the air;  if that wasn’t true then why are we told to put on the full armor of God?  Because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and powers and rulers of this dark world.  [Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.]   In fact the devil roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour as the whole world lies in his lap.  [1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”]

And consequently the world is in a state of travail.  Read Romans 8:9-23, 24 sometime and you’ll see it.  You’ll see that the whole creation is in a state of groaning as it’s being personified here.  And a lot of the songs that we sing, sometimes within modern day Christendom, can border on the very unbiblical.  Like the song many children sing in churches, “This is my Father’s world.”  I understand what they’re saying in the song that God is ultimately the creator of all things but beloved, if you think that this is the Father’s world you’re not understanding the scope of the Bible.  This world is under hostile rulership. The world is being governed in a way that God never designed it.  And that’s why the creation itself is in the mess that it’s in.  It’s in a state of travail.

And the world is sort of in bondage today.  And isn’t it interesting how everything begins to change here with this sounding of the seventh trumpet where we learn that “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign forever and ever.”  [Revelation 11:15]

What is happening here is authority is being transferred.  A lot of people, I think, are very mistaken when they teach that we are in the kingdom now.  Christianity all over since the fourth century, even into the modern day, teaches this doctrine.  That’s not what the Bible says.  We’re not in the kingdom now; we’re living on enemy territory.  We’re playing offense, we’re largely playing defense and we’re awaiting that time in history where Jesus will return and set up His kingdom.  And this is the precursor of it, trumpet seven, as the kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.

That’s why when we go through the Book of Revelation, particularly the sections we’re entering now, with the bowl judgments coming, etc. so many of the judgments sound an awful like the Book of Exodus.  Have you noticed that?  Sores– plague six, Exodus first bowl judgment, the Book of Revelation.   Rivers to blood—first plague of the Book of Exodus, third bowl judgment, the Book of Revelation.  Darkness, ninth plague, Exodus, fifth bowl judgment, the Book of Revelation.  There’s even frogs, they’re involved in a plague in the Book of Exodus, Exodus 7 and 8, and they’re also involved in the sixth bowl judgment, Revelation 16:13.  [Revelation 16:13, “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;”]  Hail, seventh plague, Exodus 9, seventh bowl judgment Revelation 16:17-21.

[Revelation 16:17-21, “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” [18] And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. [19] The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. [20] And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. [21] And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.”]

Why the parallels?  Well I think one of the reasons for the parallels is to show us, number one, these are literal judgments that are going to happen.  Just like the Book of Exodus records literal things that happened in Egypt.  And these judgments in Egypt led to the liberation of God’s people.  They had been under Pharaoh in a state of incarceration for 400  years.  And God, through Moses and these various plagues led the nation out of bondage and what is happening in the Book of Revelation is not just God leading a group out of Egyptian bondage, He’s leading the whole earth out of the bondage that it has been in ever since the fall in Genesis chapter 3.  That is the significance of the Book of Revelation.  What is happening now will not always be.  It hasn’t always been, going back to Genesis 1 and 2, and it will not always be because we will come under, as in  Ur, new management and that’s what’s being celebrated here in Revelation 11:15. [Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’]

Notice the future tense of this verb, “He will reign forever and ever.”  It doesn’t say the reigning is happening now, it’s saying the reigning of Christ over the earth is coming, where God the Father restores essentially what was lost in Eden.  God the Father rules over a man, in this case not the first Adam but the last Adam, and He will govern all of creation for God for a thousand years.  This is where human history is headed.

Well, then you say well why does it say “the King of this world has become the kingdom of our God.”  It looks like it’s happening right here.  That’s what you would call a proleptic statement.  There are things in the Bible that are absolutely so certain that you can speak of them as if they’re present realities.  Don’t we sing the song, Crown Him with Many Crowns?  My father-in-law is a retired dentist and that’s his favorite song.  Why do we say that, “Crown Him with many Crowns” when the coronation of Christ hasn’t happened yet?  The answer is we are so certain it’s going to happen because it’s a biblical reality that we can speak of a future reality in the present tense.

In fact, our glorification is spoken of in the present tense, did you know that?  Read Romans 8:29 and following, you’ll see that we have already been glorified.  [Romans 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; [30] and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”]

Now I’m looking out here at you all, you guys don’t look very glorified to me; I don’t know if I look all that glorified to you but the reality is it’s a done deal because this hasn’t happened yet but it’s a certainty.  And you see, this is what is being celebrated here with trumpet number seven. We have to understand this as Christians, yes, life is difficult, yes, we’re living on hostile territory, but we are on the winning side of history.

How long is the reign of Christ going to last?  Verse 15 says “forever and ever.”    [“The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign forever and ever.”]  That’s a long time.  You say well wait a minute pastor, I thought you taught us it’s going to last a thousand years. It is, but read the last two chapters also.  The thousand years will give way to the eternal state, which will know no end!  No political coup is going to be able to uproot Jesus once this earth and the earth to  come is established under new management.

Daniel 7:14 says, “… His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”   Daniel 7:27 says, “…His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’”  This is what we’re praying about; this is why the Lord when He was teaching us to pray said that we should pray “Thy kingdom” what?  Thy kingdom come.”  And so there is a legal transfer that is spoken of with trumpet seven because that’s the direction that the bowl judgments will take us in.

But a truth should not just stay a truth once it’s grasped; it ought to resolve in praise to God Himself. And what begins to happen in verses 16-18 is heaven itself, in particular the twenty-four elders, begins to explode into praise unto God as a result of this reality that the earth will one day very quickly come under new management.  We have the worshippers described, verse 16, and then the worship itself, the content of the worship is described in verses 17-18.

Notice, if you will, Revelation 11:16, what is the result of this truth?  “And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,” who are the worshippers?  The worshippers are the twenty-four elders.  And go back into our study of Revelation 4 and Revelation 5 which follows Revelation 2 and 3, and  you’ll see that the twenty-four elders, and we developed this very carefully, are described exactly like Jesus and what He says to the seven churches in Asia Minor.   Remember those seven churches in Asia Minor that we went through very carefully, Revelation 2 and 3?  Remember the description of the twenty-four elders, as crowned, clothed in white, redeemed, enthroned, governed by elders, kingdom of priests, twenty-four in number. It bears a striking resemblance to the seven churches of Asia Minor.

Who are these twenty-four elders.  The twenty-four elders represent the church.  And where is the church here, Revelation 11:16?  Are they on the earth?  No, it’s very clear that they are before God. Where is God?  God is in heaven.  Well how in the world could that church get into heaven?  There’s a simple answer to that; it had been taken into heaven via the rapture before the tribulation period even starts.

It’s sort of interesting that when you study the heavenly scene, whether it’s in the Old Testament, primarily Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc., what’s happening around the throne room of God, it mentions all kinds of angels, the cherubim, the seraphim, etc. but it never mentions the twenty-four elders until you get past Revelation 3 and into Revelation 4 and following, suddenly this group that we never even read about before, twenty-four elders in heaven, who are they?  That’s the church that has been raptured into heaven.

And you’ll notice that they, verse 16, are sitting on thrones.  The twenty-four elders who sit on thrones before God.  That is a great description of what Jesus said to the seven churches back in Revelation 3:21, “He who overcomes,” all believers, “I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  These twenty-four elders are described exactly like the church has described, Revelation 2 and 3, right down to their enthronement.  And the reason I am bringing this up is this is your destiny in God.  Your destiny I God is to be taken to heaven and to worship and praise God in heaven as this legal transfer is happening, as the earth is coming into new management as described with this seventh trumpet judgment.

David Hocking, in his commentary on the Book of Revelation says this: “The number one priority of every believer should be the worship and praise of Almighty God.”   [David Hocking, The Book of Revelation: Understanding the Future (Tustin, CA: Hope For Today Publications, 2014), 390.]    Do you understand that’s your number one priority?  It’s not to make money although praise the Lord God allows us to earn our daily bread.  That’s not your number one priority.  It’s not to be a great husband or a great wife or a great father or a submissive child although praise the Lord those things are important too, they’re just no your number one priority.

Your number one priority should be worship and praise to God.  Why?  We were created to worship the God who made us.  The actions of falling down on their faces, did  you notice that? They’re not in a place of comfort, they’re in a place of authority and when they begin to praise the Lord they fall down onto their faces and they begin to praise God on account of this legal transfer that is happening.  The acting of falling down on your face demonstrates a clear understanding of God’s greatness and the believer’s humility before God.  Have we got this figured out yet?  That it’s not all about us?  Life is not all about me, it’s about God and my abject humiliation before a holy God.  That’s worship.  That’s you were created.  That is your destiny unto God.

And one of the things that you begin to learn in the Bible is that worship is expensive.  The gospel is free but if you’re a worshipper of God that’s expensive.  That’s going to cost something.  I’m reminded of the wise men from the East that came to worship the Christ-child, Matthew 2, and they came bearing gifts.  Do you recall that?  I would think that those gifts of an expensive nature cost them something.  And so God requires this of us because it’s not all about us, it’s about Him.  It’s not about me and my comfort and my leisure and my needs although, of course, there’s always a place unto God where human needs are met.  But that’s not what the point is—the point IS GOD and not us.  And these twenty-four elders, which I think [can’t understand words] are literally falling on their faces worshipping the Lord as this legal transfer is transpiring.

And what are they saying exactly?  They’re praising God for two things. (A) His coming reign, verse 17, and number two coming justice associated with His reign, verse 18.  Notice, if you will, verse 17, what they’re doing, “saying, we give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.”  Here it gives you the specifics of what they’re praising the Lord for.  You’ll notice right at the beginning of verse 17 “We give you” what? “We give You thinks.”  What is worship? Part of worship is to be people of thanksgiving.  In fact, the Book of Hebrews, chapter 13 and verse 15 says, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

God says I want thanksgiving not to just be coming out of your heart, I want it to be  coming out of your mouth.  And yet so many times what comes out of our mouth?  Anything and everything other than what the mouth is designed to do, to give praise unto God.  These twenty-four elders are falling on their faces as this legal transfer is taking place and out of their mouths is coming thanksgiving unto God.  And they begin to praise the Lord for His attributes.  You know most Christians today probably have never studied the attributes of God.  And yet we’re told to study God, who He is, what are His attributes?  One of His attributes is that He is THE, not “a”  “THE almighty God.  He is all powerful.  Well, if He’s all powerful then He deserves my praise, doesn’t He.  And by the way, what’s He going to do with that power?

You continue on here into verse 17 and it tells you exactly what He’s going to do, “O Lord God, The Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken your great power and “ what have You done with it?  “You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.”  The reigning process is started because Satan is being evicted from the earth and the kingdom of God is evident.  And even though we’ve got at least three and a half years to go in terms of the chronology of the book they’re proleptically so certain this is going to happen that they’re praising God for a reign that hasn’t even started yet.

And then you move down to verse 18 and they praise God for something else, not just His coming reign, but the justice that this reign will usher in.  Isn’t that a hungering of the heart, for justice, as you see so much injustice on the earth.  As you yourself, no doubt, having gone through life in a fallen world, have you been treated unjustly in certain cases. Isn’t it the cry of our hearts to  have heart to have some resemblance or remembrance of justice, equity, fairness, which is so absent from Satan’s ruling over the world?  And on account of this justice they begin to praise God for various things.  By my count there’s at least five things that will happen in terms of justice once the full reign of God, through the millennial kingdom, is ushered in.

Notice if you will verse 18, “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great,” and look at the end of verse 18, “and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

When we pray “Thy kingdom come” what are we praying for?  Essentially we’re praying for these five things:  Number one, the rage of the nation; the nations are in a state of rage at the coming justice of God.  This should conjure up in your mind, or bring to your mind, Psalm 2:1-6 because I think that’s the background for that statement, “the nations rage.”  Psalm 2 says, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?  [2] The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed,” what are the nations upset about?  They’re foolishly in vanity plotting among themselves to create a world that God has no place in at all.  I would call that the New World Order that’s coming.  I think it was an experiment that was started by Nimrod that God disrupted there in Genesis 11 at the tower of Babel.

This world doesn’t want God.  Why is that?  Because Satan is the orchestrater of this current age, the keys being handed over to him by Adam himself.  And the nations are in a rage against God as this justice and reign is coming and as the wrath of God, number two, expresses itself upon the earth.  Notice if you will verse 18, “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath has come,” an interesting word, this word “wrath,” it’s the word orge, where we get many sexual terms from that word orge, it’s speaking of passion without limits.  In this case it’s not speaking of the sexual sins, it’s speaking of the uninterrupted kindled wrath of Almighty God.  In fact that word, orge, is used many times in the Book of Revelation to describe what is happening here.  Revelation 6:16-17, Revelation 11:18, Revelation 15:1, 15:7, Revelation 16:19.

[Revelation 6:16-17, “and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; [17] for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Revelation 11:18, ““And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Revelation 15:1, “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

Revelation 15:7, “Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.”

Revelation 16:19, “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.”]

And isn’t it interesting that the church, that’s us,  is promised an exemption from divine wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Romans 5:9, Revelation 3:10.

[1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Romans 5:9, Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

Revelation 3:10, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”]

And how foolish it is to devise a system of eschatology that puts the church in the middle of this.  This is why the church is conspicuously absent in all of these passages other than the twenty-four elders which are where?  In heaven.

No, beloved, you’re not appointed unto wrath!  I don’t care what You Tube tells you! I don’t care what the internet tells you! I don’t care what Facebook tells you! I don’t care what the silver-tongued theologian tells you! I don’t care what the pastor down the street tells you!  You will not be here during this time period; you will be removed from the earth before this time period even begins.

The nations are enraged because… they aren’t the only ones raging, God is raging.  Who would you rather fall under, the rage of man or the rage of God?  God’s rage has come, His reign is coming, Satan is being evicted from the earth, the kingdom of God is about to be established, we’re about to move into new management.  And what’s going to happen, number three, the dead are going to be judged.   I think that’s a reference to Revelation 20:12-13 which says, “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne….”  going down to verse 13, “every one of them was judged  according to their deeds.”  That is speaking of the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15 which will follow the thousand year kingdom.

Revelation 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. [12] And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. [14] Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. [15] And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”]

Evil will be judged, and the dead themselves will be brought back up, unto life via resurrection and judged as well.  And you say well where are the dead now?  They’re in a place of probation; they’re in a place of incarceration and let me tell you something, it’s not a fun place to be.  According to Luke 16:23-24 it’s where the rich man went.  Remember that story?  “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.  [24] “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’”  That’s where the dead are that die without Christ.  It’s a place of horror but it’s not even the final judgment.  They are summoned from that place, placed in what we would call resurrected bodies, given their final sentence and hurled into the Lake of Fire  Revelation 10:11-15.

You see, the dead without Christ are under the wrath of God now, but the final sentence hasn’t even been rendered.  Jude 7 describes them as “undergoing” present tense, “the punishment of eternal fire.”  [Jude 7, “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”]

And we have to understand something, that when this world is under new management this justice is going to be the norm, it’s going to be the reality.  And so praise the Lord for the age we’re in now which is the age of grace.  But we can trust in the Savior and be made right with God before this transfer of management, new management happens.

And what else is going to happen? Also verse 18, the saints are going to be rewarded.  There in verse 18 it says, “And the time to reward your bond-servants, the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great….”  [Revelation 11:18, “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”]

Remember what happened with the fifth seal judgment, the martyrs and what they began to say as they are portrayed as under the altar in heaven?  Revelation 6:10-11,   “They cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” [11] And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”  What’s happening here is God is answering their prayer.  The wicked are being judged and the righteous are being exalted and rewarded.

Notice how these righteous people rewarded in the kingdom age are described?  They’re described as bondservants of the Lord.  That’s the Greek word doulos, where we get the word slave.  This is how the apostles, when they wrote letters, described themselves.  They didn’t tout their credentials, they explained themselves as being a mere bondservant or a slave, a doulos, unto God.  And this is who the Book of Revelation is written to, did you know that?  Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants,” doulos  “the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant” that’s a repetition of doulos again, “to his bond-servant John.”  I hope that’s how you look at  your life.  Your life is not your own,  you’re redeemed with a price and the expectation of God is that He would glorify Himself through your life as you become His bondservant.

And you say well, I don’t want to be a bondservant, it doesn’t pay anything.  I never can get ahead being a bondservant.  People are always making fun of me because I’m a bondservant.  I lose jobs because I’m a bondservant.  Well, that’s why we need to be reminded that payday someday.  Yes, the unrighteous are judged, the unbelievers are judged, the righteous, according to Revelation 11 and verse 18 are rewarded, they’re called prophets, they’re called saints, they’re called people who fear God’s name.  [Revelation 11:18, “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”]

You know, this world that is coming into judgment has no respect for God at all.  And yet God’s people are to be characterized by fearing His name.   And God is going to reward every single bondservant, the small and the great.  And you say will look at Christian So and So, look at how fruitful they are, look at how effective they are and look at me, I just have a little menial role, a menial task, I mean, God certainly in the day of rewards is going to overlook me, right?  That’s not what the Bible says; it says He rewards “the small and the great.”  Anybody that’s a doulos, anybody faithfully serving the Lord is rewarded unto God.

And don’t let the end of verse 18 escape your notice because when the kingdom comes God is going to destroy the one who has destroyed the earth.  He’s going to destroy the destroyers.  Now I happen to believe that that’s most likely a reference to Satan himself because Jesus says of Satan, John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and” what? “destroy….”   Did you know, for example, as we talked about earlier, that this world was in travail.  The creation itself has been marred; the creation itself has been destroyed.  Why?  Because of Satan.  And when the kingdom comes not only is God going to liberate the planet but He’s going to destroy the one who destroyed the planet.

You know, it’s interesting, everybody today is talking about ecology, the environment.  Do you know where the greatest environmental disaster ever occurred in human history.  Everybody wants to blame it on capitalism, they want to blame it on the oil companies, they want to blame it on the BP oil spill, or whatever the issue may be.  But the greatest ecological catastrophe that has ever happened took place in Genesis 3.  Genesis 3 not only had implications for people spiritually, but it put the whole creation in a state of travail.  In fact, you remember what God said to our forbearers, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 3:17-19?

Genesis 3:17-19, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground” that’s the environment, isn’t it?  “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  [18] “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field;  [19] By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, [till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.[”  You’ve got to toil just to survive.  Why is that?  Because the ground itself got wrecked because of the fall of man in Genesis 3.

And isn’t it interesting, when you bring up this facet of ecology nobody wants to talk about this, blame capitalism, blame the oil companies, blame this, blame that, everybody gets into the conversation and then you put up your hand and you say I can see where the greatest ecological disaster ever occurred in human history.  And they say where?  And you say Genesis 3, and they don’t want to talk about it anymore, because it doesn’t fit some preset agenda.   You want to talk about the environment, let’s talk about it, I think we’ve got the most comprehensive explanation of environmental problems anywhere, amongst any worldview.

And what is God going to do to the one who has destroyed the earth and put it into this place of bondage?  He’s going to be evicted from the earth and he’s going to be bound in a place called the bottomless pit for a thousand years and after that brief period of time he’s going to be thrown into the Lake of fire forever and ever.  We pray “Thy kingdom come,” what are we praying for exactly?  We’re praying for the nations to be in a state of rage because their power is being taken away.  We pray for divine wrath.  We pray for the time in history where the dead are judged and the saints are rewarded and the destroyer of the earth is destroyed.

And then we finally move into verse 19 where we have the anticipation of things to come.  Look at verse 19.  “And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”  A heavenly temple, now isn’t that interesting?  Remember how Revelation 11 began?  With man’s temple, a temple built out of nationalistic pride that the Jews are going to rebuild that the antichrist will desecrate.  Revelation 11:1-2.  [Revelation 11:1-2, “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.  [2] Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”]

How does the chapter end?  With God’s temple.  God’s temple in heaven, and what else is up there in heaven?  My goodness, what does it say, “the ark of His covenant,” isn’t everybody looking for the ark?  [Revelation 11:19, “And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”]

I mean, isn’t there a movie called Raiders of the Lost Ark?  I know where it is!  I read my Bible, it’s in heaven.  And there’s an earthly temple and a heavenly temple, an earthly ark, heavenly ark.  And isn’t that why God said to Moses, who constructed the earthly tabernacle, Hebrews 8:5, who served as a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God, Hebrews 8:5, when he is about to erect the tabernacle.  Hebrews 8:5, …“for, ‘SEE,’ He says, ‘THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.’”  Why is God so uptight about every little detail in the tabernacle?  Well, number one, it points to Jesus and number two, it’s patterned after something in heaven.

Why is it two guys in the Old Testament mishandled it and they were struck dead on the spot?  Because we’re dealing with, we’re tampering with heaven when you tamper with the design of God.  And so the anticipation comes in verse 19, with a heavenly temple and a heavenly ark reminding us of heaven itself.  And let me tell you something about God’s authority in heaven.  God doesn’t get outvoted; there are so many decision that are made in modern day Christianity by boards that have nothing to do with God.  May I just say that’s the board not the Lord.  The reality of the situation is God is going to bring His authority to the earth which is never second guessed in heaven.  Majority rule cannot out vote God in heaven.

And so when God takes heavenly realities and brings them to the earth what it’s saying is the unchallenged authority of God, which already exists in heaven, is coming to planet earth in the form of a kingdom.  “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” what’s the next phrase, “on earth as it is done in heaven.”  Heaven represents the perfect rule of God and that reality does not exist on the earth because the earth has been usurped by the devil himself, but that’s going to change.

Once the kingdom comes Jesus will rule with a rod of iron; no second-guessing God.  The unquestioned will of God which always exists in heave when the kingdom comes will come to planet earth.  I think that’s why Ezekiel 40-48 describes an earthly temple.  What is happening in heaven comes to the earth in the kingdom age.  This is the very kingdom that was offered to Israel on a silver platter in Matthew 4:17 where Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  What’s happening in heaven in terms of the authority of God can come to the earth right now if the nation of Israel submits to the authority of God.

That offer, sadly, was rejected by first century Israel and according to this seventh trumpet judgment that offer is reextended in the tribulation period and this time it’s going to happen.  There’s not going to be a board of missions, there’s going to be the authority of God as real as it is in heaven manifested on planet earth.  That’s what this seventh trumpet judgment is announcing and that’s why the twenty-four elders are falling on their faces praising God for what is about to transpire, “Thy kingdom come.”

And how does verse 19 end?  An earthquake and a great hailstone.  Now back in Revelation 8:5 when the trumpet judgments were being anticipated, here we’re not anticipating the trumpet judgments in Revelation 11, we’re anticipating the bowl judgments, but back when the trumpet judgments were anticipated Revelation 8:5 says, “Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”  Back in Revelation 8:5 we had thunder, we had lightning, and an earthquake.

What do we have here as we’re anticipating the golden bowls of wrath judgments.  We’ve got lightning, we’ve got thunder, we’ve got an earthquake, and we’ve got something else, it’s not mentioned in Revelation 8, a hailstorm.  Three things in Revelation 8:5, four things in Revelation 11:19.  Why the addition?  It’s showing a pattern, that as humanity continues in its rebellion against God, what does God do with the thermostat?  He just keeps cranking it up; the judgments get more and more intent.  They repeat largely but they get more and more intense.  Now we don’t just have a third of the ocean becoming blood red, now the whole ocean becomes blood red.  You don’t just have a third of the luminaries darkened, all of them are darkened.  This is what happened with Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus.  “Let my people go” and Pharaoh “hardened his heart” over and over again, at least six times, maybe seven depending on your count.

And what happened to those various judgments that we call the ten plagues.  They keep getting more severe, more severe, more severe, more severe until Pharaoh finally capitulated and the people of God were released.  That’s what’s happening to the devil, the judgments are getting worse and worse and worse until finally the devil, Pharaoh being a type of Satan will just let go.  And this time it won’t be God’s people that [can’t understand word] it will be the whole planet that explodes into the kingdom for, the rule of God which is perfect that God always intended from the beginning.

Now what do you think Satan is going to do while this announcement is being made?  What does Satan always do?  Satan works in history to stop the plan of God.  He did that all the way through the Old Testament related to the Messianic line and what is happening here as these bowl judgments begin to manifest themselves as we get closer and closer to the time period when in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.  Do you think will want that to materialize?  Obviously not because once it materializes he’s over, he’s finished, he’s bound a thousand years and then he’s thrown into the Lake of Fire.  He’s working in history to try to stop this kingdom from coming.  In fact, I believe Satan is working right now within modern day Christendom to prevent preachers, for whatever reason, from talking about what we’re talking about right here.  Do you think Satan wants to hear this?  Do you think Satan wants this taught?

And once you understand how Satan is going to make a counter move you start to understand what Revelation 12-14 are about.  Chapters 12-14 is a description of the counter move of Satan trying to stop the seventh trumpet judgment in Revelation 11:14-19 that we’ve been studying.  God makes a move, Satan makes a move.  It’s part of the angelic conflict.  In fact, if you’re savvy and aware of this you can see it happening all of the time in the world we’re living in.     World War I prepared the land for the Jews; World War II prepared the Jews for the land.   Study World War I, and how Israel was given a legal right under the Balfour Declaration and other things to return to the land of Israel.  World War I, Satan makes his move now, which is World War II, the holocaust. Satan says I’m going to prevent this from happening, I’m going to raise up a man like Adolf Hitler, and he’s going to kill every single Jew in sight, every single Jew on planet earth to what is called the final solution so there won’t be any Jews left to go back into the land that was created for them.

Do you see that?  Move/countermove.  The angelic conflict.  It’s happening all around us all of the time.  God is making an announcement that His kingdom is coming. What do we have in chapters 12-14, Satan’s countermove.  Through what?  The desire to gobble up Israel in the second half of the tribulation, Revelation 12, through the two instruments Satan is going to use, the two beasts, Revelation 13, and you get beyond Revelation 13 and  you say this is very depressing because these last two chapters are just about Satan, Satan, Satan and his counter move.

Well, there’s a nice counterbalance in Revelation 14, God’s still in control.  How do we know that?  Because there’s five, maybe six scenes of optimism in Revelation 14.  In fact, when it says, “Another angel said” it’s a different scene.  And when  you understand that you understand why Revelation 12-14 follows Revelation 11.  Are you guys in agreement with me on that, Revelation 11 comes first, and Revelation 12-14 follows.  Revelation 11 is the announcement of God of the coming kingdom.  Revelation 12-14 is a description of Satan not sitting there and letting it happen but engaging in spiritual warfare to try to stop God.  How can you stop God?  You can’t, but you think you can if you’re mind is deluded through pride.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of” what? “wisdom.”  What makes a person wise is submission to God. If you won’t submit to God the mind doesn’t work right.  Study Ezekiel 28 and you’ll see Satan in his splendor was created with a tremendous intellect and his intellect was darkened.  Until he is incarcerated, better  yet thrown into the Lake of Fire, he works in history trying to stop the plan and the program of God.  The program of God is clearly articulated here with trumpet judgment number seven, Satan is not going to take it lying down and that’s why Revelation 12-14 is going to follow.

So that’s sort of a vantage point, a scope of direction if you will, of where we’re going in this particular study in the Book of Revelation as now we’re leaving chapter 11 and moving next week into chapter 12.

The fact of the matter, beloved, is you’re caught in angelic conflict.  Most people, even most Christians I would say, are somewhat unaware of this.  And in this conflict there’s only two sides, there’s God’s side and Satan’s side.  There’s winners ultimately and there are losers; it’s just like a battle, just like a war, to the victor go the what?  The spoils.  What’s the spoils?  It’s the planet that’s being contested here and the number one thing you’ve got to figure out is which side of the ledger do you want to be on, because you’re on one side or the other.  Neutrality is not even a possibility.  In fact, neutrality is a myth.  People that think they’re neutral about God, having never made a decision for God, in fact are taking a position counter to God whether they realize it or not.

And how do you get on the right side of this inevitable conflict. You get on the right side of it through what we call the gospel.  The gospel means good news.  It’s good news because Jesus did everything possible for humans, dead in their trespasses and sins, to get on the right side of the ledger.  And you get on the right side of the ledger by receiving of what Jesus has done for you as a free gift.  It’s a gift, it’s not something you can earn, it’s not something you can work for, it’s something freely bestowed by God unto you that you can receive only one way, by way of faith.  If you won’t receive it by faith you can’t receive it and you’ll go to your grave on the wrong side of the angelic conflict and you’ll suffer for all eternity because of that choice.

And how wise it is for a person to hear a proclamation of the gospel under the Spirit’s convicting influence and respond to it.  And  you can respond to it right now as I’m speaking, where you’re seated.  Those that may be listening online, watching online can respond to it right now as the Spirit, as only He can do, persuades or convicts us of our need to trust in Christ.  The Spirit will only take you so far, He will take you to the point of crisis to help you recognize the need but because you are manufactured in the image of God and because part of being manufactured in the image of God means you possess something awesome called will or volition.

God is not going to override that will; I realize that what I’m saying right now cause a great many theologians to recoil in disgust, because I believe that they’ve put too much emphasis on one part of the Bible without paying attention to the whole Bible.  God is not going to override your free will; if He were to override your free will He would not be respecting how He has manufactured you or designed  you.  But I’ll tell you this much, He will convict, He will anoint, He will bother you until your dying day because He doesn’t want you to experience the eternal consequences of a bad choice.

So what are we saying here?  We’re saying make the right choice. As the Spirit convicts you, the best you know how, in the privacy of your own mind, the quietness of your own heart, trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation.  And if it’s something that you need further explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray.  Father, we’re grateful for the Book of Revelation, we’re grateful for the things that are  yet to come. We’re grateful for the fact that  You have revealed Your plan of history and we’re even more grateful for the fact that we can get on the right side of the ledger via the gospel.  Help us to walk these things out by faith  this week.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We asks these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said … Amen.