Only saints go to Heaven. When I pastored in the most Roman Catholic state in the union in the United States, the highest percentage of the population of Roman Catholics is not in Maryland named after Mary, Mary’s land, but in Rhode Island. They have the highest percentage per capita of Roman Catholics. When I pastored there, every Sunday, people would shake my hand and say thank you father, thank you father, because they were all born again Roman Catholics and it was ingrained. What I said back to them is thank you, Saint Frank. They would look like I hit them, kind of like Will Smith hitting that other guy. They felt that was almost blasphemous because they had been taught a saint had to go through this canonization process and the Pope had to decide, and that really made them listen.
I remember I taught you how to become a saint and boy, it was a full service. I gave the Gospel, and I said even some of the most raucous, struggling believers in the New Testament Church in Corinth, Paul wrote them their first letter and said to the saints at Corinth. It was a tremendous witnessing tool.
Okay, here we go. Yesterday, we left off and I’m going to finish yesterday, and then I’ll pray and we’ll start today. Yesterday, what is the mass? What I point you to there is Hebrews 9 and if you don’t have this marked, this is one of the key passages in the Bible that helps you in witnessing to the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in this world. Most of them will say that they have a disagreement somewhere with the Church, but rarely will a born again Roman Catholic, that’s nearly an oxymoron. They are maybe a born again Catholic. They couldn’t really be a born again Roman Catholic because the Roman part is the pagan part. All purgatory is from paganism. The beads are from paganism. The vestments are from paganism. The Pope’s hat is from paganism. The orders of the monks are from paganism. Lent, as I shared with you yesterday, all 40 days of it are from paganism celebrating the whole rebirth of Tammuz that we talked about.
The worst thing among all bad things, the worst thing about Romanism is the mass. Here’s what the Bible says, verse 25 of Hebrews 9. “Not that He should offer Himself often, as a high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another.” This is talking about Jesus dying on the cross. “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is that appointed for men to die once,” so there’s no reincarnation, “but after this the judgment.” Verse 28, “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Wow.
The biblical view of the sacrifice of the mass, the very heart of Roman Catholicism, is a denial of the completed work of the cross. That’s what the mass is. They offer Christ over and over again on the altar of the mass. What they call it is a bloodless sacrifice. There are reams of theology about that, that they have written. It’s the greatest error of all.
Verse 28 of Hebrews 9 does away with Romanism. Christ is not to be offered again once an hour in the big cathedrals, that’s how often they do it in the big ones. Not once a day in all the other ones. Not all day long at those chapels surrounding St. Peter’s Cathedral, the largest Roman Catholic church in the world. No, Jesus has already been offered once on the cross for all eternity. That’s the danger of the mass.
By the way, in Matthew 7, Jesus explains that each person’s life on Earth is very black and white, it’s binary. That’s a term nowadays, binary, people are very binary. There are only two choices. There are two roads, two trees, two relationships, and two destinies. Jesus described them. The wide road is the gate of religion. If you follow the wide road of religion, the destination you’re headed toward is death. You’ll be surrounded by many, Jesus said. You trust in your own achievement that you’re trying hard, you’re going to do better, you have done something, you gave something or did something or whatever. The achievement portion is a part of every world religion. Everybody tries to do their best.
We were born following this old way. This is how Isaiah says it; “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one to his own way.” We’re all born wanting our own way, not God’s. You have to do nothing to get to Hell, you just float along. Then you have to pay in full for all your sins. The lesson is that for the wide way, do nothing, go with the flow, and end up thrown in the Lake of Fire as we’ll see in our next hour.
Christ said no, the narrow road, the gate of salvation. By the way, He told religious people this, He told the Jews. You couldn’t be more religious than them. They read their Bible all the time. They tithed 10% of everything, plus a whole lot more. They said all the right words, they intoned them. They came to the temple and everything. He looked at them and He said no, you have to be born again. You aren’t in this because you’re in the right family. You’re not in this because your parents circumcised you, you were dedicated, or to use modern terms baptized you.
To get in the narrow road, the gate of salvation, it’s wanting the destination of life. If you get on that road, you’re surrounded by a few. You’re resting in divine accomplishment. That means that the Lord did it. Jesus paid it all. Salvation is by grace through faith, not by your works. It’s only by God’s revelation. In other words, it’s that faith comes by hearing, Paul said in chapter 10 of the book of Romans, and hearing by the word of God. Peter put it this way, you receive the engrafted word. James said very similarly that we receive the word of God that is transplanted by God, into our very beings.
We must be born again to follow this new way. We must believe and repent to get here. It’s very interesting how much, as you saw on the way through Revelation 16 yesterday, God kept saying the only way out of this disaster you’re headed to is to repent, to turn toward Christ. You must believe that your sins are paid for in full by Christ. You listen to God’s word, you believe, you call on the name of the Lord, you repent, and by faith, you get forever forgiven and secure. What happens when you do that? One of the big places that happened is in Acts 19:19-20. It was in Ephesus and Paul preached and they turned from their Satan worship and all that. We covered that last week, all that they were doing.
I got to inherit a ministry in Rhode Island following a pastor who had led hundreds of Roman Catholics to the Lord. After he discipled them, I think it was there a decade, before he finally realized that there was resistance in the church to going forward. One Sunday they came to church and right in front of the pulpit was a 55 gallon drum. You see those big round ones, like trash cans in parks and they have a lid on them or whatever, they’re a 55 gallon drum, steel drum. He brought one of those and put it right in front of the pulpit. He preached on Acts 19:19-20, which says “Also, many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it total 50,000 pieces of silver.” Verse 20, when they got rid of all this wickedness, “the word of the Lord grew mighty and prevailed.”
Do you know what he told them? He said some of you have your rosary beads, and some of you have your little crucifixes, some of you have your little Mary statues and some of you have Saint So-and-So on your dashboard. Others of you have all these pictures and you revere them and all this stuff. He said God’s work is being held back because you don’t get rid of that stuff and that all is a part of you not being sure Jesus did enough and you’ve got to keep contributing. He just had this very important service and challenged them.
He actually dismissed them, like last hour you got out two minutes early, he dismissed them really early. He said I want you to go home right now and get all that stuff. It goes into this barrel. Go and I expect every one of you back. They were absolutely shocked. They left and they started coming back with tears and everything else, they threw all that stuff in. A lot more than just Roman Catholic hardware went in there. Other people who weren’t even Roman Catholic threw in a few of their DVDs and other stuff that they had.
That church exploded. By the time I got there, they had planted 17 other churches in the Rhode Island area. Rhode Island? That was a barren wasteland for churches back then, and these 17 churches were flourishing. They were at Brown University. They were in URI. They were all over Providence, all over the outlying areas. The first church that was planted grew larger than the mother church, it got to 500. The second church that was planted grew to almost the same size as the mother church. That pastor really believes that is what the Lord said. God wants us to destroy any personal reminders of Satan’s lies so He can mightily bless our lives and ministries.
You might ask me this, you say, wait a minute, where does it say in the Bible that any of those statues of the saints or anything else are wrong? Well, I want you to use everything you’ve learned at Word of Life, everything you’ve learned in Systematic Theology, and all the classes you’ve been through. Think about this. When you go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City they have all the saints there and you actually can go right down the line. They have every one of the saints that tells what they do. If you have a son who’s a soldier you can get in front of the one that guards soldiers. If you have someone that goes on the seas, you have one that guards them. There’s one, Christopher, I think it is, that people put in their cars. You can get in a little prayer place and get on your knees in front of St. Christopher or whomever and ask St. Christopher to help someone.
Stop. Think about this. I said where. St. Patrick’s in New York City. St. Christopher at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. St. Christopher, who is a Saint so he’s in Heaven, can hear you? And can know where your son or daughter or whoever you’re praying for, know exactly where they are? On top of that, he can help them? Do you know what those three things I just described are? Omniscient, omnipresence, and we can go right down the line. Roman Catholicism attributes to Mary and the saints the attributes that are God’s alone.
I guess second, after declaring that Christ’s work on the cross was not sufficient and you have to add to it through the mass, there is a second most deadly part of this religion that Satan spawned through the merging of the 1st century Church with all the paganism of Rome. Constantine, to win the war to become the emperor, painted crosses on the shields of his legionnaires and wrote in hoc signo vinces. When he won the war, he merged the Church with all of Rome’s official religion. That’s where the robes, the vestments, candles, beads, and all of that stuff merged together. That’s how the Roman Church merged with the Catholic Church. It’s amazing. The 55 gallon drum reminds us that God loves consecration.
How it all ends. This is the scripture. One element of that is, do you understand why God is going to burn everything up? He said that. Let’s see why. We’re right there in the Tribulation events. We bumped into these two chapters that are very unusual, chapters 17 and 18. 17 is Babylon and the great harlots lie. That was what I just finished. It’s this apostate church. It has the framework of Christianity, and everything’s been merged in. By the time we get to the Tribulation, they’ve merged into everything. I believe by the Tribulation time that there is going to be an amalgam of Shintoism and Buddhism and Islamism and Christianity and Baha’i and everything else. The JW’s and the Mormons and everybody is going to find some commonality and that’s the great harlot.
Just as you see right now, do you know what’s going on in Russia? The Russian Orthodox Church is supporting Putin and his invasion. You see the merging, that’s what the beast with the seven heads and 10 horns. Satan’s political desires have always ridden on the backs of religious conquests and that’s the Crusades and everything else that you know about that are so bad in history.
Chapter 18 is about Babylon and the great cities’ idols. Now we get into the other one of Satan’s dangerous lieutenants. The first one is religion. The second one is materialism. The kings, the merchants, and those who trade by sea. Now, as we saw yesterday, religion in Revelation 18 is materialism. How I defined it yesterday was that the god of this world has two viruses he has been affecting all of humanity with since the dawn of the human race. Religion gets many and they just try their hardest to achieve whatever god they want, whether it’s the true living God or their local god, through their achievement. They work on making their own way to God. You find people like that all the time. If you’re a regular witnesser, you’ll find all these people have designed their own ways to God. They tell me I have a little of this, I have a little of that. It’s called syncretism. Religious syncretism is when you blend together elements of all the religions and you make your own kind of hybrid, your own special way to God. Your own way to God, that’s religion.
You can do that within the church. I’ve met so many people over the 40 years I pastored that are like that. They’re having some crisis and I would say, tell me about how you met the Lord. Oh, I did that. I went forward. I prayed. I said, good. What’s happened since? What do you mean? I said what’s happened since, have you grown? Are you hungry for the word? Do you hate sin? What I found is in the Old Testament God mandated circumcision. People thought they were saved by surgery. If they got surgery, not even they did it, someone did it to them. Their parents authorized it, so they were in. Do you remember how much Jesus struggled with that? They said we’re circumcised, You’re of the devil, we have had surgery. We’re going to Heaven. That was the first huge error among religious people, among God’s religious people. They thought if you got circumcised, you went to Heaven and God says, no, you don’t.
Do you know what the second one was? As soon as John the Baptist started baptizing people and Jesus said to go into all the world and baptize born again people, all of a sudden baptism became like circumcision. If you were baptized, you were going to Heaven. When I pastored, especially when I was in the Southwest and all these people had grown up in the Church of Christ or whatever, they would take me to show their baptism certificate because I would visit them.
Bonnie and I had a 100 Home Ministry we called it. As pastor and wife, we went our first two months or three months, and we would visit 100 homes. We would have either lunch or dinner or breakfast with the family. We scheduled it. It’s kind of like the president has his first hundred days, we had our first hundred homes. Bonnie and I would share our testimony. Our children that came with us shared their testimonies if they were old enough to talk. Then we’d say, and how about you? Do you know what most people did? They’d take me down and show me their baptism certificate, or show me when they were a baby and had a baby baptism and I’d say, uh huh. That’s a great confirmation that your parents wanted you to go in the right direction. I said, when did you get saved?
I went so far once as to have everybody prepare their testimony. One Sunday I had everybody stand up and I said, you each have 30 seconds to prepare a 30 second testimony. You each have 30 seconds. It’s one minute total, turn to someone and read to them your testimony. Unbelievable response. Many people went to the elders and they said, if he ever does that again, we’ll never come back to this church. That is not what you do in church. You don’t make people talk about how they got saved. That is not the purpose of Church. Thankfully, the elders knew it was and we had a backdoor revival because so many of those people didn’t have a testimony.
In fact, after that event, I started going through and having them mark their Bibles with the Romans Road and got everybody ready for soul winning. More and more people started being transformed so we had a summer outdoor picnic after the first service, and we had a baptism. The very first Sunday we did that 150 people stood in line to be baptized because they had been saved since their parents baptized them as a baby. The next month we had another one, and we had another 150. We had about 400 of the 1200 people in the church who were declaring that they had come to Christ because they had been counting on their baptism.
The first error of Satan was circumcision salvation. The second one is baptismal salvation, if you’ve been baptized, you’re saved. Do you know what happened with Charles Grandison Finney in the 1830s? He started this thing of coming forward and he just said, hey, come forward here. Do you know what people started saying? I’m saved. I went forward. Did you know salvation is never about what I did? Salvation in the Bible is completely about what God did. Now I respond. Paul said Jesus knocked me off the horse on the way to Damascus. I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, I responded, but God paid the price. God convicted me of sin. God worked in my heart. I responded.
That also answers a lot of questions. A lot of you ask questions. You’re all concerned about going out witnessing. Do you guys, the first year, go out on the mission’s project, or just the second year people? You don’t. You do. Some have said you’re concerned. You’re scared about witnessing. I said, do you know what is so exciting when you share the Gospel? God is more excited about it than you are, and He is working inside of them. That’s how you know how far to go as you share. If they are not a sinner, you don’t keep going because He hasn’t yet convicted them. Remember what it says in John 16? “And when He has come,” the Holy Spirit, “He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” All that from John 16. If He, the Spirit of God, is not knocking on the door and convicting them and making them feel miserable we shouldn’t go on.
Materialism is the other deadly agent; thinking pleasure, possessions and power are more important than God. You can do that actively by living your life for everything, or you can do it passively, just going along with the flow. We talked about that yesterday, so that takes us to chapter 18.
Chapter 18 is a warning about the deadliness of idolatry. Making a good thing the ultimate thing. God teaches us in Revelation 18 that there’s life beyond money. Life is more important than possessions. You can’t take it with you. Life is not linear. They’ll always be unexpected, devastating changes and disasters. There are no disappointments for the Christian only the appointments of God. Those are the devotional topics of the book of Revelation.
Let’s just go through Revelation 18 and let me get to it with you. These are just what I jotted in my notes when I was doing the devotional study like you’re doing. My chapter title was Live for What’s Eternal. This is what I wrote: in a single moment, on a single day, all over the world, the food supply will end, the transportation system will stop, the banking system will freeze, and all luxuries and all hoarded wealth in every country will become worthless. Communications will stop; no music, no TV, no cell phone, no Wi-Fi, no lights. That’s what chapter 18 is about. God actually, boom. A lot of people 22 years ago thought that was going to happen in Y2K, even a lot of Christians. What they did is instead of getting ready the way Revelation says they got ready by hoarding and moving out away from civilization. No.
The 18th chapter of Revelation gives us a roadmap for the coming economic collapse of the world. God gives lessons that we can see. Do you remember what it says in Matthew 6:24? That’s the last thing on that slide. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” materialism, earthly treasures, possessions, pleasures. Why? Jesus condemns it.
That’s what the first three verses are about in Revelation 18. “After these things I saw another angel coming down from Heaven, having great authority, and the Earth was illuminated with his glory.” Remember, we already talked about no New Testament angel being Christ. Okay. He doesn’t show up in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, there are Christophanies, Theophanous, and angels of the Lord; not in the New Testament. Always know it’s someone other than Jesus even though like I said, angels exceed anything we’re even able to comprehend. This angel is lighting up the Earth. That’s an amazingly powerful creature, but it’s not Christ.
“He cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons.'” This is very negative. “A prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” What it says is when you get involved in Satan’s infection, which is materialism, you’ve got demons helping you or tempting you if you’re a believer; shooting fiery darts. Jesus condemns worldliness.
The first lesson is that worldly possessions can’t buy spiritual life, but they can buy spiritual death. Remember Jesus talked more about money than any other topic. He talked about money and basically, He said, money is the monitor of your heart. Not how much you have, how much you want it. It’s the monitor of your heart. This scene in Revelation 18 depicts Matthew 16:26. That might be what the loud voice of verse 2 is. Booming across the Earth as the world is collapsing is Christ’s warning, “for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for their soul?” A lot of people will give everything and exchange their souls for stuff.
What does Jesus do? Look at verse 4. He calls, now you say Jesus, the angel is speaking, but this book is the word of God. This is literally the message Christ wanted His Church to hear. Do you remember that map I keep showing you of Asia minor and those seven churches? Those people read this, and they got it. It says, “I heard another voice from Heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.'” What the Lord is saying is don’t get sucked into the materialism of this world. There are seven elements of the worldly system that Jesus will bring an end to, they start in verse 21.
Let me read to you James 4:4 because remember there’s nothing new in the book of Revelation and it’s hearkening back. Look what James 4:4 says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Next verse. “Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?'” The Spirit who dwells in us? This is talking to Christian’s verse 5 says. Christians can be adulterers and adulteresses. What does that mean?
It means we are engaged to Jesus Christ. We’re supposed to be living, not laying up our treasures on Earth, but in Heaven. However, all of a sudden, we’ve been lured away because Jesus isn’t as clear as the suitor is, which is Satan saying, why don’t you, instead of laying up your treasures in Heaven, live for me for a little while? Jesus said you’re not being faithful while engaged to Me. You are listening to My enemy.
What are the seven elements of worldliness? They start in verse 21 so look at chapter 18, verse 21. The “angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying ‘Thus with violence the city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.'” What. Verse 22, “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutist, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore.” Do you remember what covetousness, materialism, is? It’s making a good thing the ultimate thing that we live for. See what God says is that we’re supposed to eat to live. We eat our daily bread so we can live another day, but most people live to eat. They’re backward. Remember what Paul called it? Their god is their stomach. Their glory is in their shame. They mind earthly things. That’s Philippians 3:19. He said you’re not like that. Okay.
What happens? Well in verse 21, a worldly person’s identity is found in the world, not in Heaven. It’s this stuff. Secondly, they find escape through amusements. Do you know what a-amusement means? M U S E, muse means to think deeply, you muse on the news. You muse on whatever. It’s an old English word for meditation. A, the letter a, is called the alpha privative. You put an a in front of stuff, and it means not whatever you put in front of. That was just a little way that they built words when they were communicating and when our language was created and developed. That a muse means not thinking. People like amusements because they don’t want to think. It’s too hard to think, or there’s too much pressure or I’m depressed, or whatever it is. A person finds escape through amusements, doing something to make me not think, entertainment, something that pulls me away into that, and pleasure seeking. That’s the list at the beginning of verse 22.
The end of verse 22. Worldly people use work, their success and career, and even daily life as a way out of spiritual responsibilities. They say no, I can’t. Husbands say I can’t lead the family in prayer and reading, I have to go to work but wait a minute, let’s examine this. You have to go to work. Wait a minute. If you weren’t so set on getting a bigger and better and more comfortable and showier house, if you actually, instead of always trying to move upward materially, if you just got more content.
Remember I told you about Wesley? When he started in ministry he earned 10 pounds a year and he lived on one and a half and gave away eight and a half. When he got to a hundred, he was living on 15 pounds and giving away 85. When he, at the end of his life, had written hundreds, thousands of hymns and was very globally famous, he earned a thousand pounds a year and he lived on 150 and gave away 850. Do you notice that he didn’t let his income keep going up and raise his expenses to go with them? He capped off his expenses at a certain point.
I had a good friend that was an elder in one of the churches I served, and his grandmother left him a farm in Oklahoma. What a nice grandma. The largest oil drilling company in Oklahoma asked him if they could drill and the first pipe they poked in the ground was the single largest wellhead pressure gas. They’d found it in Oklahoma. That day he started earning 50,000 a month. No one knew this and he came to me and said, I’m serving the Lord here at the church. I said, oh, I know you really well. You’re a good friend. He said let’s go out to lunch. I want to talk to you. He said, my family and I have decided we’re going to live on $5,000 a month. He says that’s what we lived on with my job. He said I earned $60,000 a year, and he was a successful businessman, but he said there’s something I want to talk to you about. I said, yes. He says I’m now earning 50,000 a month so that means I have 50,000 extra a month because I’m not going to spend it on myself. What should I spend it on? Is that normal? No. What would most people do? 50,000 a month. Man, I can buy a gated, multimillion dollar mansion on the water and fill it with boats and quit my job. He never quit his job and he never bought a bigger home; he still lives in this little house living on five acres. I think he still lives on 5,000 a month and he gives away the rest. You see, a worldly person uses work, career, success, and even daily life, as a way out of spiritual responsibilities to invest in Heaven.
A worldly person is tied to technology and the knowledge of this world. They’re up on everything. They know everything going on technologically and they’re really involved in it, but you start talking to them about spiritual things, heavenly things, and it gets fuzzy because they’re tied to technology. You talk to them about technology and they just, whoo! The iOS whatever just came out. Did you see the WWDC? They’re the newest version of this and they can tell you about their gaming or their computer or their music or their newest beats whatever. You talk about the Lord and they’re tired or they feel a little ill. I’m overboard explaining this, but you get the idea.
What excites you? If it’s God, you’re not worldly. If it’s not God, you are worldly. A worldly person is tied to finances. They measure people by wealth and possessions and that’s their goal. All their goals are financial. Did you know, God says that a godly person’s goals are not all financial, yet you talk to everybody, and their goal is they’re going to get a good job? They have to get a good education to get a good job, and they’re going to have a good 40 whatever, and they’re going to save and they’re going to invest and they’re going to flip homes and they’re going to of course get crypto. When they’re telling me that I hear that voice, Matthew 16:26, what is it? If you gain the whole world, they’re tied to that. They’re intoxicated by the world. That’s what makes them happy.
Jesus shows us the end of worldliness. 2 Peter 3:11, this is what Peter said, “Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct?” Since everything, even this beautiful campus, is going to be dissolved, we should be living for something other than what can be dissolved. The question the Lord asks is are we worldly people? Is our identity here? Do we escape through amusements? Do we try to escape spiritual responsibilities? Are we tied to our social life? Because Satan’s always tempting us to love what God hates.
What does God hate? 1 John 2:15-17. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Satan wants us to chase our body’s pleasures. That’s the lust of the flesh. Satan wants us to chase the lust of our eyes, stuff, and status through possessions, clothes, through whatever. The pride of life? Chasing status.
Do you know, social media has made so many people to be focused on impressing others? Bonnie and I were teaching our little, small group in Greece. We were up on the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and all that. While I was trying to do my lesson, the students gradually all started snickering because all these people would come up and the sun was just right, like this and the Parthenon was behind them, and they would have their photographer and they’d be fixing themselves up for all the poses they do. Then they’d get back to normal. They had to get it right for their posting of that shot. Then they went back, they would always run back to see who took the picture and they’d swipe through the photos, they’d shake their heads, and say do them over. A lot of the ladies didn’t like the way their husbands took the picture. Their husband didn’t take a good enough picture of them, and they would make him retake and retake. What is going on there? Are they trying to show the history of classical Greece? Talk about the wonders of Western civilization, or are they trying to frame themselves? They’re chasing status. Okay.
That’s chapter 18. Now chapter 19, is the end of human history. That’s what the return of Christ is. Some of those hailstones would be a byproduct of thermonuclear war, but all that doesn’t matter. What does matter is what the Lord wrote to us. The first thing is to look at verses 1 through 6 of chapter 19. This is the run up to the Second Coming of Christ. “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in Heaven.” This is before the Second Coming. “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord.” Look at verse 3, “Alleluia!” Verse 4, “Amen! Alleluia!” Wow. Look at verse 6, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” Wow.
This is the same word in the Old Testament, hallelujah. It’s in the Bible 144 times. In verses 1 to 6, we have four of them; the most concentrated pattern of them in the New Testament. It’s an imperative meaning to praise God. What is being praised is Christ’s salvation, that’s what He’s saying in verse 1; His coming judgment, verses 2 and 3; the worship of Christ, 4 and 5; that He’s the sovereign conquering King of the universe.
Notice what they say in verses 4 to 6. It’s a reaffirmation. If you remember that very first week we were together I showed you that God wants to frame all of our problems in that little box. Remember He loves us. He’s powerful enough to keep anything out of the box. His attributes. He knows what’s coming before we do it and He’s with us. I showed you that. They’re doing the same thing. They say, “Alleluia…praise our God.” Look at verse 6, “The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” Nothing’s coming into my life that He doesn’t allow. He is actively working it together for good and I just need to trust Him.
Look at verse 7. This is what gets very exciting. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” I personally believe that this is the launch of the thousand year meal. The thousand year meal is going to happen right after the Second Coming of Christ because it’s the millennium. Have you ever wondered what we’re going to be doing during the Millennium? Jesus said that we’re going to help Him and that the 12 apostles are sitting on the thrones and Paul said that believers were going to be judging people in the future, they were going to be like appointed judges. You know our whole Supreme Court, we just confirmed the new one, well we’re going to be on God’s Supreme Court, judging and working on the Earth.
This is what I wrote: The Church plus the Old Testament saints are all going to gather for a meal, and it might last all the thousand years. Do you know what Jesus said in Matthew 8:11 when Jesus was sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people? He said many are going to come and sit down at the table. In other words, a lot of people through the Gospel are going to get saved. He compared getting saved and going to Heaven to going to a banquet. He said when they get saved and get to Heaven and sit down at the banquet they’re going to sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do you know what He said? When we get saved, we join all the things. Sometimes we’re only thinking about the Church. Have you ever thought about the way God lays out Heaven? The gates and the foundations merge together the apostles and the 12 tribes. Heaven is when God puts all saints together. It’s not like one group of saints is better than the other group of saints. Many will come from the east and west. Jesus said many will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I wrote this: Are you getting ready for the ultimate banquet? The greatest party is coming. The King of Kings is preparing a wedding feast like none other. It’s the most breathtaking location imaginable. The greatest names of all time will be present and seated. At dinner, the invited guests will be rubbing shoulders with Adam and his lovely wife Eve. One of the twins’ sons, Abel, will be sitting with them as well as Seth and his wife. Not too far away will be the amazing preacher, the earliest known prophet, Enoch the great-grandson of Noah. His family will be nearby. On down the long table will be the likes of Job and his clan. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and their family members. What a reunion! Moses and Elijah are walking around talking to the guests and visiting with old friends. Jeremiah is sitting in rapt attention with Daniel and Isaiah and Ezekiel. They’re pointing out all the stuff they saw in their prophecies. That’s about the banquet hall.
What we’re going to wear is in the text. Look at this, look at verse 8. “To her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Have you ever noticed that verse? Right now, by your choices, to either say no to sin and say yes to Christ or not, is determining what you’re going to wear. That should be sobering. This is what I wrote in my devotional notes: Our progressive sanctification will be seen forever. Revelation 19:8, we wear our good works for eternity, what we did for Christ in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God. It really does matter how we live. Then after all that, we get to wear the outfits of our life as we follow Christ. That’s what happens next.
The ultimate triumphal entry. Jesus rides out on a white horse as the ultimate conqueror. What does He do? This is verses 17 to 21. It says that the “angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying…’Come and gather together for the supper of the great God.'” Did you know that if you don’t come to the Gospel invitation, which is that banquet I was just talking about, you become bird food? That’s what happens to everybody else. They get eaten by the carrion, and by the vultures. That’s what happens. Armageddon is the destruction of hard hearted humanity gathered against God. Wow.
Think about what this says. In 14 to 21, most of us never think of Jesus as vengeful so I pulled out for you Zechariah 14. Zechariah gives us a little detail that most people haven’t read. This is what happens when Jesus shows up riding that horse. “This shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem.” See, He doesn’t stop at Armageddon. He’s headed to Jerusalem. He’s going to touch down on the Mount of Olives. As He’s coming down, look at what Zechariah says to all these armies and all the rebels and everybody that’s against Him: “Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand…their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.” Ooh.
This is not the Rapture, that’s the left hand column. This is the Second Coming. No transformation. The saints are not going to Heaven, they’re coming back. The saints are not standing before the Lord. The Earth is being judged and it follows all the predicted events. What is predicted is that we get to Heaven and either we have gold and silver and precious stones and we get to keep what we did and wear it forever and offer our worship to the Lord, or its ashes. Our life was good for nothing, time was burned doing stuff that wasn’t sin, it was just worthless, or all of our sins are gone.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Revelation Taught In 2022 here.
Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.