Revelation 063 – Two InvitationsRevelation 19:15-21 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 8, 2019 • Revelation
Two Invitations Revelation 19:15-21
Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 19 and verse 15. The title of our message this morning is Two Invitations. And as you’re turning there, I think Ed made reference to the “What? No Angels” play that we’re going to have tonight at 6:00 p.m. I’d encourage you to think about attending that; my daughter is so excited about it and she’s part of the group there, amongst many others. And we’re really looking forward to that.
And this Wednesday I had announced that I won’t be here because I was going to the Pre-trib Conference but it turns out I am going to be here teaching this Wednesday and it really relates to my wife who, as some of you may know, she was out playing softball with our youth group kids here at the church and she took a nasty fall, kind of news flash we’re not in our twenties any more, but that’s all right. And she ended up breaking her ankle and that’s healing okay but she ended up damaging two fingers (I think) which were misdiagnosed; a local facility told her that they weren’t broken. It turns out they are broken and they’re growing in correctly and so the whole thing could have been [can’t understand word] if we had a good diagnosis to begin with. So tomorrow she’s being rushed into surgery, tomorrow morning, Monday morning. So if you can keep her in your prayers during that time our family would really appreciate it.
And it’s not just us that are having struggles, as you look at the list of health issues in the yellow insert you’ll see all kinds of people that are struggling with different difficult ailments and there’s nothing more comforting when you go into those situations to know that there’s a lot of people behind you in prayer. And so the prayer for all these people, and my wife also, is that God would give the surgeon wisdom and the Lord would work through that. Do you guys believe in the power of prayer? I wouldn’t ask you for prayer on this if I didn’t believe in the power of prayer and I asked my wife if you don’t mind me sharing this and she said fine, because she believes in the power of prayer. So the more prayer we have and others have the better.
The Book of Revelation, chapter 19, we are at the end (believe it or not) of a series of momentous events that have been described in the Book of Revelation called the Great Tribulation period. We’re in chapter 19 which is the end of that tribulation period. And so we can take the information in chapter 19 as Babylon has already fallen, verses 1-6, and heaven has celebrated Babylon’s fall. We can divide the rest of the chapter as follows: there is something called the marriage supper of the Lamb. That’s the first supper indication, verses 7-9, sort of describing the church returning with Christ in glory having already experienced the Bema Seat Judgment and the marriage supper of the Lamb. And then from there we moved into verse 10 where John himself responds to the revelation that he has received by worshipping (not God) but the angel dispatched from God that gave John these insights. And we got into the subject there of idolatry and how we are not to worship God’s servants, we’re to worship God!
And now what we’re looking at, we started this last time, is what was called the main event. What is the main event? What is human history being pushed towards? It’s the bodily return of Jesus Christ to planet earth. Do you believe that’s going to happen one day? And that’s what we’re all looking forward to; that’s what we’re all yearning for. We have a description of that in verses 11-16. Last week verses 11-14 we looked at the ten qualities of that main event, the Second Advent. And now this morning we move into verses 15 and 16 which are the activities, five of them, that Jesus will execute upon His bodily physical visible return to planet earth to establish His long awaited kingdom at the end of this seven year tribulation period that we have been studying.
So here are the activities we’ll look at and as time permits we’ll be moving into verses 17-19 where we’ll see an invitation to a second supper. That one’s called (not the marriage supper of the Lamb) that one’s called the supper of God. And that’s not a good one to go to I might say. If you get an invite to that one you might want to turn that one down. But the first supper is something that you will want to go to and that’s why I’ve entitled this message Two Invitations.
But before we get to that second supper notice first of all the activities of Jesus Christ. What is He going to do upon His return to the earth or even as He is returning to the earth. Notice, if you will, verse 15. “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” WOW!
What’s Jesus going to do when He comes back? Number one, the world is going to see an exposition or an exhibition of His spoken Word. And that’s what’s happening in verse 15, I believe, when it talks about a sharp sword protruding from His mouth. We know, for example, from the Book of Hebrews, chapter 4 and verse 12, that “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged” what? “sword.” This, I think, is most likely a reference to what He’s going to say when He comes back.
And it’s not just here that this is predicted. There are other places where the breath of Christ, the words of Christ, are highlighted. Isaiah 11:4 describes the return of Christ this way: “… And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8 of the coming antichrist describes the antichrist’s demise. And it says there, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the splendor” or “appearance of His coming.” The spoken word, the very words that spoke in the heavens and the earth leapt into existence. Jesus, of course, created ex nihilo the heavens and the earth through a spoken word. And you can see that spoken word coming forth from His mouth, directed at the antichrist and this is really no contest; the antichrist is defeated instantaneously.
The second thing that Jesus is going to do is He is not only going to speak forth His Word but He is going to smite the nations. That also you’ll find a description of it in verse 15. It says, “so that with it He may smite” or “strike down the nations.” [Revelation 19:15, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”] And if you want a description of His striking down of the nations you’ll see a reference to that in a verse that’s coming, in verse 19. It says, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” And it talks about this army that’s actually going to go out and oppose Jesus Christ, the beast and ten kings, and Jesus is going to smite them instantaneously.
Of course, the nations have always been at war with God. Genesis 11:1-4 essentially describes the origin of the nations. [Genesis 11:1-4, “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.  It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.  They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”]
Where did these nations come from? They owe their origin to the tower of Babel which talks about (there in Genesis 11:1) a time period when the whole earth spoke the same language. And they all came together as one, I call this sort of the first United Nations Conference, and they wanted to build a one world system of economics, politics and religion that excludes the knowledge of the true God. It’s what today we call the New World Order. They were attempting this on the plains of Shinar all the way back in the Book of Genesis and God, as you know, confounded the language so that they couldn’t communicate with each other. That’s where we get the name Babel from, they couldn’t talk. And God shut down the whole project and all of these nations that we see today owe their origin to this corrupted system.
And so consequently the kings of the earth and the nations of the earth have, ever since that point in time always been railing against Jesus Christ. And it’s interesting that as Jesus returns we see, verse 15, Him speaking and smiting these nations. And then what is described as He begins to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Notice, if you will, verse 15, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword that He may strike down the nations” now watch this, “and He will rule them with a rod of iron.” Up to this point in time the nations have always thought that they’re going to have the upper hand on God.
In fact, if you look at their rulings and their decisions and the things that they say they’re always saying things against Jesus Christ. And yet what we learn here is that the nations in their rebellion against God have that upper hand in history temporarily because the time in history will come where they will not be ruling Jesus Christ, they will not be throwing Jesus Christ out of the school class-rooms for example, but He actually will be ruling them. And we have a description of this all the way back a thousand years before the time of Christ in Psalm 2:9. In fact, Psalm 2 is a description of the conspiracy. You say well, you don’t believe in conspiracy theories do you? Yes, I do! They’re in the Bible. The nation, Psalm 2, conspiring against God. [Psalm 2:9, “‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”]
In fact, that’s what the nations are doing today; that’s what they’ve always done. And what is the reaction of God as these nations conspire against Him? Psalm 2 talks about how God just sits in the heavens and laughs. It’s like little ants building their little thing or whatever and they’re kind of conspiring against God. I’m sure God is really got sweaty palms over that one… God just sits there and laughs because the time in history is coming where He will not only smite them but He will rule over them. And that’s why Psalm 2 exhorts the nations to kiss the Son lest He grow angry. [Psalm 2:12, “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”]
In other words, if you’re going to get on the right side of things you’d better do it now because the smiting and the ruling is coming and you don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of that power structure. That’s the exhortation of Psalm 2. In fact, Psalm 2:9, of Jesus Christ, says, “‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” And as these survivors of this tribulation period go into the millennial kingdom and begin to repopulate the earth we have a unique period of time, which is not the eternal state, where people will still possess a sin nature, and it will be necessary for that thousand year time period for these survivors, believing survivors of the tribulation period to still be ruled for a thousand years with this rod of iron. That’s what keeps everything under control for a thousand years.
Now that need won’t exist anymore during the eternal state because by then the resurrections all will have taken place, the sin nature won’t exist anymore, and so this information that we have about ruling with a rod of iron, it’s not so much showcased in the eternal state because it’s unneeded. But it certainly will be needed during this unique period of time that’s coming, we’re about to discover a lot about it as we’re moving through the Book of Revelation, in Revelation 20:1-10. So one of the things that Jesus Christ is going to do is He’s going to rule and subdue these nations.
Something else He’s going to do, number four, is He’s going to tread the winepress. Look, if you will, at verse 15. It says, “And He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty.” Now what is a winepress? It’s very interesting imagery. I’ve actually been to Israel and actually seen a winepress in operation. A winepress basically takes grapes that are ripe and it crushes them and that’s sort of is a description, this winepress, of the end of the tribulation period, the end of the age when humanity has gone so far in its rejection against God, so far in its rebellion against God that it’s really not good for anything anymore other than to be crushed like grapes because the grapes are now ripe, it’s now ripe or time or the right season for this crushing because of the sin of the human race.
I’m reminded of Genesis 15 verse 16, the prediction that the nation of Israel four hundred years later under the days of Joshua will reenter the land of Canaan and eradicate the Canaanites. And it says there reenter the land of Canaan and eradicate the Canaanites and it says there in Genesis 15:16 this four hundred year period is allowed because the wickedness of the Amorites is not yet full.” [Genesis 15:16. “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”] In other words, the grapes are not ripe yet, they’re not as wicked as they can possibly be. And yet there was a time when the grapes became ripe; they weren’t good for anything other than to be crushed. And when they’re crushed the wine flow takes place and that wine flow is analogized to the blood that is spilled when the Lord God Almighty treads this wine press. The grapes become ripe and have to be crushed, humanity becomes so ripe in its rejection of God and its rebellion against God, its wickedness against God that it’s not good for anything other than to be crushed and as that wine flows the blood will flow.
Revelation 14 tells us as high as the horse’s bridles. [Revelation 14:20, “And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.”] And so this winepress imagery is so rich in terms of what it’s communicating and it’s so interesting to actually go to Israel today and see the actual crushing of grapes. This was all imagery that a Jewish reader would grasp and would understand.
And as these people in their rebellion, these grapes if you will, are being crushed what does it say? It says, “He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty.” [Revelation 19:15, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.] It’s actually two Greek words, it’s anger plus wrath. There’s actually two words there, anger plus wrath orge, two words to describe the wrath of God against the human race when He returns the second time.
Now you read things like this in the Bible and aren’t you glad for the top of the screen, that the church is raptured or removed from the earth before these things happen. How do I know that? Because we are promised, are we not, over and over again an exemption from divine wrath as the church. The wrath of God has been absorbed in our place. And as you move through the various passages that speak of the tribulation period, it always describes it as a time of divine wrath, fierce wrath, right up to the very last verse that we just read, Revelation 19:15. No, beloved, you’re not part of those grapes that are going to be crushed; in fact, if I’m understanding my Bible correctly God is actually using you as a member of His previously raptured church in a resurrected body to help Him (not that He needs our help but he gives us the privilege of functioning under His delegated authority. We will be actually helping Him execute this long awaited wrath on planet earth. So you are not appointed to wrath, in fact, the Bible says the day will come when you will judge the angels.
I think part of the instrument of His wrath will be His church that He will use to banish Satan from the earth and execute His wrath on planet earth. And God is going to get exactly what He wants because if you look at the end of the verse He’s called “God, the Almighty.” How do you stand up against that? He is omnipotent, all powerful, and thus the foolishness of living one’s life against God. This is why Psalm 2 says Kiss the Son lest He grow angry. [Psalm 2:12 KJV, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”] This judgment from an almighty God is coming; Psalm 2 says get on the right side of history now, “Kiss the Son,” honor Him in other words, “lest he be angry.”
This is an amazing description of the Second Advent of Christ, His spoken Word, His smiting of the nations, His ruling of the nations, His trampling down of the peoples of the earth at this time, like a winepress. And then also He’s going to rule as King. Notice, if you will, verse 16, “And on His robe and on His thigh” two places in other words, “He has a name written,” what does it say here in capital letters? “ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” These are what we call superlatives, meaning the ultimate, the highest. It’s like when Solomon calls his Song of Solomon at the beginning of the book he calls it the Song of Songs. Solomon wrote a lot of songs but when he calls this one (it’s in our Bible by the way) the “Song of Songs” he’s saying this is the ultimate song, this is the highest song of all the songs I’ve written!
It’s like when the Bible uses the expression of the inner sanctuary in the temple area and the tabernacle area, it uses the expression “Holy of Holies.” This is not just a Holy Site we’re talking about here, this is the ultimate Holy Site! This is the highest of Holy Sites! And that’s what you have here with this description of Jesus as not just a king, but the KING OF KINGS. He’s not just a Lord, but He is the LORD OF LORDS, superlative, the ultimate King, the highest King and the highest Lord.
And isn’t it interesting how our pluralistic culture has totally lost sight of this because in the minds of many people today many people think Jesus is just an option, He’s just one sort of path of many. You talk today to people about Christ and they’ll sort of give you this answer that I’m glad that you found enlightenment in your particular guru, in your life coach, in your ascended master, and completely oblivious to the fact that we’re dealing with Jesus here, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He’s not one of many options, He is the ultimate King, and He is the ultimate Lord.
That, by the way, is how you can always recognize false teaching because it will somehow take Jesus and demote Him to something that He is not. In fact, that’s what the whole Book of Colossians was designed to address where the Colossian heresy took Jesus and just made Him one of many angels in what is called the Chain of Being. [The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, humans, animals, plants, and minerals.”]
And the Book of Colossians comes along, Paul writing that book, and saying Jesus is not one of many angels, He created the angels. The angels themselves owe their origin to the ex nihilo, something out of nothing Word of God. When (not if) WHEN the Mormons come to your door they’re going to try to sell you on the idea that Jesus is just one of many, He’s just a created being. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach the same thing. Islam, by the way, teaches that Jesus is coming back with Allah as sort of his sidekick, kind of in the role of a consultant. And such ideas are totally foreign to the Bible; the Bible knows no such doctrine, it knows no such teaching. All of these false religions I have been talking about clearly are false because they take Jesus and they demote Him to something that He is not.
We’re dealing with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And He is coming back to this earth to rule as King. Everything that He did not receive at His First Advent He is receiving now in His Second Advent. You know, it’s interesting that when you study the writings of the prophet Daniel, six hundred years in advance predicting the first coming of Christ. It says there in Daniel 9:25, “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” now if you understand this correctly it’s pinpointing the exact day that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and proclaim Himself as the Messiah to the Jewish people. This was predicted to the exact day. That’s why Luke 19 verse 42 Jesus said to the Christ rejecting Jews, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.”
One of the interesting things that makes Jesus stand out is His whole life was revealed in the form of a script called Bible prophecy written, in this case, six centuries in advance. “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” watch this, “until Messiah the Prince” not king, “there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” You’ll notice that Jesus, in this prophecy, is referred to as “the Prince” not the king. Why is that? Because he never received His kingdom. Why is that? Because the nation of Israel rejected Him. Daniel 9:26, the next verse, says, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah” Jesus, “will be cut off” that’s the crucifixion, “and have nothing,” what does it mean “inherit nothing”? He would not receive in his First Advent His long awaited kingdom.
In fact, as He is adorned with crowns here in Revelation 19 the only crown He ever received in His First Advent was the crown of thorns, crown of mockery. Matthew chapter 27:27-30 of the crucifixion of Christ, says, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.  They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.  And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.” Talk about a crown that you received in His first coming that was it. He was the prince, never the King. His inheritance was cut off.
And isn’t it interesting, everything is changing now in Revelation 19. The nation of Israel is receiving Christ; the kingdom is now His which He will reign over for a thousand years and He is adorned with many diadems and crowns, completely different situation than what we read about in the first coming. It’s astounding what the Bible reveals concerning exactly what is going to happen when He comes back, His spoken Word, His smiting of the nations, His ruling of the nations, His treading down of the winepress, and His rulership as King, none of which we take for granted because all of that was denied in His First Advent.
And we continue on in Revelation 19 and we learn now about a second supper. The first supper is the supper of the Lamb, verse 7-9. [Revelation 19:7-9, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”] By the way, if you’re a believer in Christ your invite is in your inbox waiting for you.
But then there’s a different supper here. Verses 17 and 18, a supper, if you will, of destruction. We have two invitations. And notice what it says in verse 17, “Then I” that’s John, “saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,” look at that invitation. Here you have an angel standing in the sun, he cries out with a voice, not a small voice, not a soft voice, not a great voice, and this time he’s summoning the birds and it talks about how the birds are flying in mid heaven, I’m not exactly sure what that means other than the fact that the Greek typically took the heavens and divided them into three parts, the distance from the ground to the clouds, which would be heaven one, then from the clouds to the stars would be heaven two, and then then beyond the stars is heaven three.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:2 was caught up into the third heaven, where God is, where God dwells. [2 Corinthians 12:2, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago– whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows– such a man was caught up to the third heaven.”] And so these birds flying in mid heaven may have something to do with the Greeks and how they stratified the atmosphere. But you’ll notice whatever this means that these birds are summoned and they’re summoned to a particular invitation. This is not the marriage supper of the Lamb which was described earlier; this is the supper of God. They’re assembled for a supper called the supper of God.
Now what are these birds going to be eating exactly? I mean, what’s on the menu? Notice, if you will, verse 18, it’s very descriptive; “so that you” that’s the birds, angels speaking to the birds, “you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” These birds are summoned to gorge on the corpses that will exist.
Why are there going to be so many human corpses? Because of what’s been described in the prior verses—Jesus returning, speaking His Word, ruling with a rod of iron, the nations themselves opposing Him and there’s going to be dead bodies everywhere. And consequently the birds themselves are summoned to gorge on these corpses. I believe that this supper of God is not just described here in Revelation 19, you’ll also find a reference to it in Ezekiel 39:17-18 which says, “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.” Speaking to these birds!  “You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.”
We also, I believe, have a description of this supper of God in Matthew 24:27-28. Verse 27 describes what we’re reading about here, the second advent.  “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” And then the next verse, verse 28 says, “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” And so these birds are now summoned to gorge on the corpses of all of the deceased that were slain and slaughtered at the Second Advent of Christ. In fact, you’ll see the word “flesh” which is the Greek word sarx, mentioned four times just in verse 18.
And verse 18 describes nine classes of people that will be killed and their corpses gorged upon by the birds. Number one, kings. Number two, commanders. Number three, mighty men. Number four, horses. Number 5, riders. Number 6, the three. Number seven, the slaves, and then the free. Is that nine. Kings, commanders, mighty men, horses, free, slaves, the small and the great. I think that comes out to nine. If not you guys will give me a little grace, which we all need.
One of the things that’s interesting to me as I look at this is it talks about slaves. Apparently there will be slaves on the earth when this happens and this is not the first time in the Book of Revelation that you see the reality of slavery. You’ll also find it in Revelation 18:13 regarding the destruction of Babylon. It says, “and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives.”
Today when you bring up the issue of slavery in the United States they’re talking about something that happened at our nation’s inception that we, through the providence of God in western civilization corrected. And yet they use the issue of slavery over and over again to tear down the institutions of the United States, to teach the youth that the United States really is a genocide culture. And I’m not here to defend everything that our Founding Fathers said or did. But I will say this, it is unique amongst the nations of the earth for a nation to rise up against it and fix it. That’s what’s called
The Emancipation Proclamation under then President Lincoln. And as much as everybody today is saying that the Constitution is a racist document are they not understanding that our constitution has been amended three times. Those are called the post-Civil War Amendments, the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th amendments which were designed to free slaves and give them rights. And as much as people keep bringing up the issue of slavery today, two hundred years ago, to tear down the United States they’re totally ignoring the fact that the slavery that exists in the Middle East under Islam right now. You want to talk women’s rights? Let’s have that discussion.
Let’s talk about the Middle East. You want to talk about slavery? Let’s have a conversation about that; let’s talk about what Islam is doing and has always done right now in that part of the world. I just find people to be very selective in how they’re using this issue of slavery. And I would understand this as the growth of Islam being factored into these prophecies because Islam legitimizes enslavement and mistreatment of other human beings. I don’t think the Bible does, as much as people want to blame the Bible for slavery. The last time I checked the Bible teaches that all people regardless of color or race or national origin are image bearers of God. Does not the Bible teach that?
In fact, what the Bible teaches is there are no races; there’s one race, the human race! There are different pigmentations of skin coloring but those aren’t different races. There is one race; there is no theological or biblical basis for understanding that one race has a right to enslave another. Every- where the Bible has gone it’s always been the opponent of slavery. Of course there are always people that twist the Bible and misuse the Bible and that’s not what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about the basic biblical teachings of the Bible. Where this book goes slavery is on the run and that’s not true with the Quran, or the Hadith, or any number of false religions. It’s the exact opposite. Apparently these false religions have some sort of upper hand in the last days and that’s why there’s a couple of references, I think to slavery, in the Book of Revelation.
But isn’t it interesting how all of these people, regardless of their status, whether they’re slave or free, small or great, kings or commanders of mighty men are just ordinary people, all of them now are equal under the judgment of God. And I’d like to say all of the heroes are now zeroes. Isn’t that what happened when we studied the destruction of Babylon? It says in Revelation 18:23, “…for your merchants were the great men of the earth,” it’s kind of like going to your high school reunion, all the heroes are now zeroes and class nerd is now the multibillionaire. [Laughter] I mean, it’s interesting how things change.
And when the judgment of God comes it’s going to be equal, it’s going to be applied across the board. That’s what death and judgment is, isn’t it? It’s the great equalizer, it affects everybody regardless of status in society. Death, judgment, affects the rich. Job wrote about it in Job 1:21, he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.”
Paul talks about it in 1 Timothy 6:7, he says, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” The last time I checked there’s no You Hauls behind the hearse, you leave it all behind, it doesn’t matter what your status is, it doesn’t matter what your title is, it doesn’t matter what your asset ledger looks like, what your investments are, bank account. It doesn’t even matter how people look at you, look up to you or look down upon you, it’s all equal, under death and under the judgment of God. Apparently this judgment of those living on the earth at this time is very, very severe resulting in so many corpses that the birds themselves are summoned to gorge themselves on these corpses.
As I mentioned before this is your second invitation that you see in this chapter. Do you remember Revelation 19:9, there was invitation A, “Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” That supper is attached to a blessing, makarios in the Greek. It’s one of the seven, as we’ve talked about, beatitudes in the Book of Revelation.
Then as you drop down to verse 17 you see invitation number two. “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,” A supper of bliss and a supper of judgment. And that’s why I’ve entitled this message Two Invitations. The real issue is which one are you going to attend. If a person is in Jesus Christ then what happens is they are part of that glorious supper of the Lamb. But if a person is not in Jesus Christ then even assuming that they make it to the end of the tribulation period they’re slain by Jesus Christ with the breath of His mouth and the splendor of His coming, and there’s nothing left for them other than for their rotting corpse to be consumed by the animal world, the birds in this case.
I can’t think of a clearer contrast in the Bible than what I just described. This is one of the things that’s always attracted me to the Bible because in our culture and our civilization everybody is talking in gray type areas. We don’t use right or wrong anymore, we don’t have absolutes, everything is “if”. Everything’s a matter of debate. Everything is a matter of discussion. We have endless talk shows and radio shows where the talking heads are debating something that used to be common sense. I mean, you need a whole cadre of experts to be told whether you should come in out of the rain today. [Laughter] Common sense is gone, absolutes are gone, everything is in, everything is a gray area, and don’t assert yourself over someone else because you will be called arrogant and prideful very, very quick.
And how refreshing it is to turn to the pages of God’s Word and you start seeing absolutes. There is a broad road that leads to destruction and there is a narrow road that leads to life. That’s a contrast. There are sheep and there are goats. There is wheat and there are tares. There are children of God and there are children of Satan. There are angels and there are demons. There is God and there is Satan. There is heaven and there is hell. When you start to understand this you start to understand what [can’t understand word] this book taught. They don’t want it in the schools and if they get their way through all of these so-called hate speeches they’re going to eventually shut down sermons just like this. You can’t post them anymore; can’t put them on social media and we may even come into your church and yank away your taxes of status.
Why are they doing this? Because this Book doesn’t fit with the Esau’s or the culture of the day where everything is just sort of up in the air debatable. That’s not true with the Bible. One of the things that refreshes me about the Bible, one of the things that convinces me that this book had to be from God because of how counter cultural it is. You know, we have our youth today always wanting to be counter cultural. You want to be counter cultural? Become a disciple of Jesus Christ. That’ll make you about as counter cultural as you can possibly be. If you’ve got some need to be counter cultural God will fit you in with that program pretty quick because this Book is counter cultural. And so we see here two clear supper invitations and what gets you invited to supper A that keeps you out of supper B is the gospel, believing or trusting in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we’ve seen the marriage supper of the Lamb, we’ve seen John’s response to the revelation, we’ve seen the second advent, we’ve seen the Second Advent, we’ve seen the supper of God and how does this chapter end? It ends with Jesus Christ defeating the beast and his armies and the false prophet.
Take a look if you can at verses 19-21. Notice verse 19, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” You’ll notice that the beast is aligned with the nations or the kings. That’s should not shock us at all, that’s what we saw in Revelation 17:3, the beast with ten horns for the ten contemporaneous kings that arise with him, this ten king confederacy. [Revelation 17:3, “And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.”] And they’re coming at Jesus Christ with their armies, as He’s returning to the earth. And that’s a problem for them because Jesus, verse 19b and verse 14 He’s coming back with His armies. Their armies versus His armies!
And you’ll notice what it says in verse 19, they’re coming “to make war.” Notice verse 19, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled” against his army, and it talks here about the war that they will seek to wage on Jesus Christ. These people have a big problem because Jesus is coming back to wage war. We saw that last week in Revelation 19:11, He’s coming back to wage or prosecute a just or righteous war.
Verse 19:11 says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” So they have their army, He’s got His army. They have their war, He’s got His war. Now I’m not a betting man but who do you think we ought to bet on here? I think we ought to bet on Jesus Christ. I like the second part of verse 19, it says “they are coming against waging war,” the Greek word polymos, where we get the word polemical, they’re “waging war against Him,” that’s Jesus, “who sat on the white horse against His army.” We know who the rider on the white horse is, there’s no doubt, the rider on the white horse is none other than the Word of God. John 1:1, John 1:14. [John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ]
This is not an angel, this is not a lower ranking servant. They are declaring war on Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ and His armies are declaring war on them. Now who would be the armies of Jesus Christ? The armies of Jesus Christ no doubt would be the angels because Matthew 25:31 describes Jesus returning with His angels. But the armies that He is speaking of I think would also be you. It would also be me and those of us that have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are returning with Him; we are a kingdom of priests. And we will rule and reign with Him upon the earth. There’s a war in your future. There’s a conflict in your future. God is actually going to use you as part of His bride and His church returning to the earth He’s actually going to use you to sway the armies of Satan himself. But that doesn’t seem to deter them, does it?
“I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the white horse and against His army.” [Revelation 19:19] It’s kind of interesting that the Lord would have us, in this passage, around the advent season, around Christmas time, because Christmas time and the Second Advent of Christ both are descriptions of the human heart that’s bent against God, because when Jesus Christ came the first time there was really no room for him in the heart. In fact, Luke 2:7, a passage we always read this time of the year, says this, “And she” that’s Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
How could a human mind have come up with a story like that? God incarnate enters this world and He can’t even check into a hotel? They’ve got to put Him in a manger somewhere, which I think a lot of our pictures have sort of destroyed this idea if you’ve actually seen a manger in Bethlehem, it’s basically something, it’s like a cave, something hewn out of a rock. It’s a place of humility, that’s where Jesus was born because there’s no room for Jesus, not even in the hotel system, or the motel system. He’s pushed out of everything. And as you go through human history what is the human mind always doing against Christ? Pushing Him out, push Him out of the schools.
In fact, most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves are really too busy this time of the year celebrating His birthday to give Him the place of prayer and honor and meditation that He deserves. This is why Jesus, in the Book of Revelation, chapter 3, is portrayed as outside the door of His own church. He’s pushed out of the church, He’s pushed out during His first coming and here it’s the same pattern. Jesus is coming back to this earth in glory, they have no hope of winning this battle, and they actually go out and they fight Him when He comes back? I mean, everything that Jesus has done on planet earth has been resisted and opposed by the wicked heart of man over and over and over again.
And so I think Christmas and the Second Advent are very nice bookends describing the hatred of the human heart towards Jesus. We resisted Him when He came the first time; we’re going to resist Him when He comes back the second time. The hostility of the human heart towards this man, Jesus Christ. And so there’s a battle… well, not really, not even a battle here folks! I mean, to be honest with you I’ve been reading verse 20 for years and it’s been sort of disappointing (if I can say that). I mean, I want to see a battle, I want to see a cosmic conflict, I want to see all these dead people, I want their guts to spill everywhere, I mean it’s on the video games and the movies, I’ve got to see it here in the Bible.
And I’m waiting for this great conflict to happen. There’s not even one in verse 20, the whole thing, to my mind, is terribly anticlimactic (if I can say that without God hitting me with a lightning bolt). It says, “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two” these twelve prophets, “were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.” We know that Jesus is almighty God, verse 15 and verse 16, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and so we know that this army that the devil and the beast and the false prophet have organized against Christ is not going to avail. And rather than describing the battle that supposedly took place here, it just says He returns, He grabs beast A, beast B, rounds them up and tosses them into the Lake of Fire. That’s all it says. No great cosmic conflict, the whole thing is somewhat anticlimactic.
And for years and years and years of my Christian life I paid more attention to the movie Rocky than the Bible, because I thought God and Satan were really equals. That’s a belief called dualism and it’s why everybody went to see the movie Rocky, because you’ve got these two heavyweights duking it out for the title. You don’t know who’s going to win exactly. We, of course, would give the slight edge to Apollo because he’s the reigning heavy weight champion. Now I’m talking about Rocky 1, I’m not talking about Rocky 27 now where their great grandkids are fighting and all this stuff. I’m talking about the real thing Rocky, not this imitation stuff that they have today.
So we’re sitting on the edge of our seats the whole time because we don’t know who’s going to win. And that’s why this [can’t understand word] starts chanting what? Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, at least I was (when I wasn’t eating popcorn). The reality of the situation is you can’t analogize this conflict between Jesus and Satan from a dualistic world view for the simple reason that Satan, Ezekiel 28:13, Ezekiel 28:15, is a created being. [Ezekiel 28:13, ““You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.” Ezekiel 28:15, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.”]
This is no contest. We know exactly who is going to win this for the very simple reason that Satan is a creature and God is the Creator. And I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s not much of a war that’s described here. It’s just sort of a done deal. Jesus returns, overthrows His adversaries, but the overthrow is never really described. And the kingdom of God begins.
Who does Jesus subdue when He returns the second time? Two entities, the beast, that’s the antichrist and number two, the false prophet. And countless commentators will tell you that the beast and the false prophet aren’t real people, they’re just systems, systems of thought, systems of philosophy. The problem is when you go to the next chapter, Revelation 20:10 it talks about the beast and the false prophet in the Lake of Fire a thousand years later and it says where they are. [Revelation 20:10, And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”]
These people are real people; they have eternal souls. A system would have just disintegrated in the Lake of Fire. But because God has fashioned eternity into the hearts of men these two entities are described continuing on in the Lake of Fire. The miracles are described here, that the beast and the false prophet performed. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 uses the same words that are described in Christ’s earthly ministry, of the powers and the signs and the wonders that these two have used to subdue the earth. [2 Thessalonians 2:9, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.”]
As we mentioned in Sunday School this morning there exists within the realm of the Satanic and the demonic a capacity for miracles. You see it there very clearly in verse 20, “The beast was seized, and with him, and with him the false prophet who” did what, “performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with Sulphur.” The mark of the beast is described here, that enslaved the world. The miracles that they performed under Satan’s power is described here, which enslaved the world. The image that was set up in the temple of the beast, the image that spoke. Revelation 13:15 is described here. [Revelation 13:15, “And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”]
And these two are taken, with all the problems they caused and they’re just immediately put into the Lake of Fire. Now here’s something that’s very interesting and with this I’ll stop. You’ll notice that Satan here is not put into the Lake of Fire. God has a future purpose for Satan; he is placed in a place called the Abyss, which is different than the Lake of Fire, and you’ll see that in Revelation 20:2-3. [Revelation 20:2-3, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;  and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”]
And why isn’t Satan put into the Lake of Fire with his two companions? After all, aren’t these three called the unholy trinity? I mean, why aren’t they all just put in the Lake of Fire? Because, as we’ll be studying when we get to Revelation 20 there is a final lesson that God seeks to teach the human race, and the existence of Satan is necessary for this object lesson. More on that lesson down the road. But it actually is one of the most important lessons you could ever learn. It’s about to be taught but I need Satan, God says, as part of my presentation so he doesn’t go into the Lake of Fire right away, he goes into a place called the Abyss. God is so sovereign over Satan that He actually uses Satan for His own purposes.
And here is one other thing that occurred to me as I was reading this and studying this week. God take the whole eternity, false prophet, beast, and Satan, and divides it. The false prophet and the beast go into the Lake of Fire but the head of the trinity, Satan, goes to a different location, called the Abyss. God just took the unholy trinity and divided it. Now why does God do that? Because that’s what Satan tried to do with Jesus. In fact, in Matthew 4:3-4 it says this: “And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
What did Jesus say all the time in His earthly ministry? I’m totally submissive to the will of the Father. Everything that I do the Father does. And Satan says let me derail that, let me get you to step outside of the will of God by consuming bread after fasting for forty days, it’s a temptation; that’s why Satan here is called the tempter. And let me get you to exercise your will against God the Father and let me drive a wedge in the Triunity of God. That’s what’s happening in Matthew 4. And Jesus did not succumb to that temptation but simply responded, “It is written.” So Satan’s attempt to divide the Trinity or the Triunity of God failed. And what does God do at the end of human history? God says I know something about dividing trinities, in this case Satan your unholy trinity consisting of the beast, the false prophet and the dragon and I’m going to divide it up. You two—lake of fire! You into the abyss. And God now divides the satanic trinity which is the very ambition that Satan had with the real Trinity. And so almost at every juncture in this second advent of Christ God is defeating or winning in the very area where Satan failed.
Wow! I looked at that this week and I said I’ve never seen that in that light before. Praise the Lord for the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit. Well, we’re going to commit the unpardonable sin here, we’re not going to finish verse 21 because there’s a lot of stuff in there and that might take us another hour and a half.
But we want to conclude with the gospel. The gospel puts you into supper A as opposed to supper B. You want the marriage supper of the Lamb, you don’t want anything to do with this supper of God and so you transfer your invitation from one supper to another by trusting what Jesus did for you. You have to do it now though, you have to kiss the Son now lest He becomes angry. You have to honor Him now and the way you honor Him is you receive a gift from Him, the greatest Christmas gift you could ever receive, salvation, which can only be received as a gift. If you won’t receive it as a gift you can’t have it. So the only way to receive a gift from God, Romans 4:4-5, is to trust or believe in whom He has sent. [Romans 4:4-5, “ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.  But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”]
Because those verses say “the one who does not work, but believes.” Because if you can work for it it is no longer a what? It’s no longer a gift! You have to receive this by way of faith and you receive something from God by way of faith by what we would call not just intellectual ascent, you’re not believing about somebody, you’re believing in somebody. You’re trusting Him with your eternity and the safe keeping of your soul, and you’re trusting in what He has done as being sufficient or enough for rectifying or remedying the sin barrier which exists between a holy God and sinful humanity.
The problem has been fixed, the problem has been bridged. Jesus says trust in what I have done in your place, don’t trust yourself, you can’t, you have to receive it as a gift and you can only do that by way of faith. Our exhortation to you here at Sugar Land Bible Church and maybe even people listening online is to do that right now because the Spirit will convict you of your need to do it. That’s what John 16:8-9 says, “… He comes to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment….” Sin because they do not believe; the Holy Spirit (I hope you understand this) is not busy morally reforming unbelievers.
He’s not convicting them of profanity, spousal abuse, drug abuse. He’s not convicting them of any of those things. He’s convicting them of the one sin that they are now committing against God, which is the only sin that will send you into hell, which is not believing in Jesus Christ. Now once Jesus is inside of you the profanity and all those other things He’ll start to work on in a process called progressive sanctification.
But that’s not what the Spirit is doing now in the unsaved. He’s convicting them of the sin that they’re committing right now, which is not believing or trusting in the One God has sent. So our exhortation to you is to respond to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and trust in Christ. You can do it right now in the quietness of your own mind, thought and heart without raising a hand, walking an aisle, joining a church, doing New Year’s resolutions, pledging to do better. That has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the matter of privacy between you and the Lord where you trust in the One whom He has sent. And you can do it now, even as I am speaking. If it’s something you need more explanation on we are available after the service to talk. Shall we pray.
Father, we are grateful for this Book and these truths that are coming to this earth and the hope that it gives us in the present age. Help us to keep these truths in the front of our minds during this very hectic season as we celebrate Your birth. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said…. Amen!