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Persecution and the Second Coming - 29

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2022 2:00 am

Persecution and the Second Coming - 29

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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April 25, 2022 2:00 am

Will believers escape persecution in the end times by the second coming of Christ- Pastor Mike Karns continues his expositional series in Revelation.

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Was good to see you tonight and thank you for being here in your interest in the word of God. I thought we be a little soft tonight because of the extension of Easter break for people and we arbiters some visitors here tonight and glad you're here in so let me explain what I what I want to try and do this evening in my preparation this week.

I came up with three headings and they were reorientation review and re-engagement with the text but it wasn't too long into my study until I realized that my outline was quite ambitious and therefore I'm not sure that were going to get beyond reorientation. So tonight the preaching time is given toward a reorientation of the genre of apocalyptic literature. The book of Revelation how we should approach it, how we would should be studying it and I think that it's absolutely critical. Why I never heard anybody explain this to me and once I understood it.

It resolved a fair number of perplexities to me. Now there's an awful lot of perplexity that don't get resolved simply by understanding this, but I think this is very important. Reorientation about how this portion of God's word comes to us in in second or reorientation about our thinking and considering the subject of tribulation as it relates to the second coming. So that's my ambition tonight to try and bring a reorientation around those two subjects.

I don't know exactly how long it's been. But I know it's been over a year ago that we started this study in the book of the Revelation and we've covered a lot of ground been a lot of interruptions for various and sundry reasons special occasions we've preached from something else. Communion services we've given concentration to the preaching of the gospel so there been various reasons why we file had this disjointed notice and all the more reason I think tonight why we just need to pause and and have a time of reorientation, get her mind around very critical things and all okay that I need that I am help by that, and I trust that that will be the case tonight. So as we think about this reorientation, it's critical that we understand that the book of Revelation is not a consecutive chronological prophecy of history we read most of our Bible in that fashion. Now you might be surprised and amazed to some of you may be a little surprised when I say warm about the say that not all of the gospel account is given to us in a chronological consecutive fashion via reading through the Scriptures.

I would suggest that you find a Bible reading program that takes you through the Gospels chronologically. You will be surprised what you discover.

You begin to understand all. I always thought that was this time or that time so but for the most part the Gospels come to us in a chronological fashion but not not entirely. Now the book of Revelation does not come to us in that fashion. It is not a consecutive chronological prophecy of Scripture. We've looked at the seven seals were looking now at the seven trumpets and we will get into the seven bowl judgments. I'm trying to illustrate for you that if we were reading the book of Revelation in a consecutive chronological way we would be thinking this way okay. The seventh seal judgments. I after the seventh seal judgments are the seven trumpet judgments after the seven trumpet judgments or the seven bowl judgments. That's how we would think. But that's not how we should understand the book of Revelation. This is the way we need understand there are the seven seal judgments and when you get to the seventh seal it takes you back to the seven trumpet judgments. You get to the end of the six judgment and we were instructed about the seventh trumpet is about to come.

It takes us back to the seven bowl judgments so there is repetition covering the same ground getting giving additional detail. You say well I need to see that and I want to show it to you so don't just take my word for it because if I were sitting where you were and someone just said that I'd say okay, show me I want to see it. So let's do that again were and were not going to have our finger in the text here of Chapter 11 but were going to get a reorientation so turn to chapter 6, chapter 6, and I'm going to read for verses that relate to the fifth seal and then I'm going to read verses 12 through 17, which is the sixth seal. So were getting to the end of those seven seal judgments verse nine of chapter 6 when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held and they cried with a loud voice saying how long the Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. Verse 12 under the sixth seal. I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood in the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place in the kings of the earth. The great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb for the great day of his wrath has come in who is able to stand of folks that is a depiction of the end of the age. There's no coming back from that and that depiction ushers in God's wrath and his judgment on an unbelieving world.

John refers here to a great earthquake to the sun turning black like sackcloth to the moon being turned blood red, two stars falling to earth to the sky receding like a scroll to every mountain and island being removed from its place.

You can't read that description and say, well, that sounds like a bit of a an upheaval. No, that's cataclysmic. That's end of the age, language at the end of the seventh trumpet. Now I'm switching gears with you were here to six seal but now were moving away from the sixth seal to the trumpet judgments at the end of the seventh trumpet.

There is little doubt that the end has come souls now are back in Chapter 11. Keep keep in mind our orientation. The seven seals, seven trumpets, the seven bowls all confined to the same historical. So here we are. Chapter 11 verse 15 then the seventh angel sounded, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, the kingdom of this world, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. And the 24 elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, we give thanks so Lord Almighty, the one who is and was and who is to come because you have taken your great power and rain, the nations were angry, and your wrath has come right your wrath has come back. Chapter 6 verse 17 for the great day of his wrath has come, and who is able to stand and what I'm suggesting to you is John is talking to us, revealing truth to us related to the same event in Chapter 11, the Lords rain begins in verse 17 the time of his wrath and for judgment for the wicked and the reward for the righteousness, now while Revelation 1118 speaks of the final judgment.

What follows in chapter 12 is a return and a consideration of Christ's first advent.

So you see, if you don't understand this structure, seven seals, seven trumpet seven bowl judgments you come to this. The Lord's is raining the Davis wrath is come, and you turn to chapter 12 and you begin to read now great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth in another sign appeared in heaven.

Behold a great fiery red dragon, having seven heads and 10 horns and seven diagrams on his heads.

His tail drew 1/3 of the head of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth and the Dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born. Now you can't read verse five without seeing Christ. Here, in his first advent, she bore a mighty male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and his throne. So you see what I'm suggesting. If you're reading this consecutively historical chronological you, will wait a minute here were back to Christ first advent. The consecutive chronological approach will really confuse you the same repetition is seen in chapter 16 what are we dealing with when we get to chapter 16 were dealing with the bold judgment.

Again, remember.I want to be overly repetitive. But just because this is reorientation.

The seven seal judgments seven trumpet judgments and in the seven bowl judgments and when we get to chapter 16.

That's what were looking at the notice with me. Chapter 16 verse 17 then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne saying it is done and there were noises and thunderings and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. There again, notice the description of a cataclysmic disruption a great earthquake, where we seen the mansion of a great earthquake. This is just reinforcing this reorientation. Chapter 6 verse 12 this is the sixth seal. I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. I Chapter 11 verse 13 were dealing with the trumpet judgments in the same hour there was a great earthquake and 1/10 of the city fell. In the earthquake 7000 people were killed and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven and then chapter 16 verse 18 and there was noise there were noises and thunderings and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, not three separate earthquakes. The same earthquake you're following what I'm trying to convey to you.

This is repetition. John's revisiting the same historical timeframe and giving additional detail. No one ever explained this to me.

I was saved in 1979 shortly after that time, the pastor announced that he was going to do a study in the book of the Revelation and I set on Sunday night with my Bible open and with the notebook and we went through the book of Revelation.

That's three years ago nobody ever explained to me what I'm explaining to you tonight and is not a novel idea us, just like I believe the correct way of understanding this portion of God's word is he's revealed to us. John is portraying the events leading up to the second coming of Christ several times in these chapters from chapter 6 through 16 and again excuse me if I'm being overly repetitive.

But the events in chapter 6 through 16 are not in chronological order.

John E introduces the bowl judgments by making the statement in chapter 15 chapter 15 verse one my Bible has a heading before the chapter prelude to the bowl judgments. This is what John says.

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in town the wrath of God is complete. The first time we had language like that because is your is your considering what John is describing as I've already mentioned to you there at the end of chapter 6 you say will there's no recovery from this stars are following the moon is turning blood red.

The sky is rolling up like a scroll. It's the end of the age.

Why is it Revelation of the content of Revelation 2122 the next chapter, we wonder why it's there. 15 or 16 more chapters. After what we read in chapter 6 what Morris of the say while there's more to say because he's going is going to go back he's going to revisit that historical timeframe and give additional detail that the bowl judgments are not simply one episode or series of events within the final tribulation, but they that they in in some fashion are going to describe the culmination of God's judgment in history so this is the last time John is going to speak of judgment. But what's critical that I wanted to point out to you was verse one of chapter 15 then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. Thus, the first area of reorientation.

One other area that I hadn't really planned, but has come to my mind that I think I need to just touch on and that is we have we have taken an approach to understanding this portion of God's word that weirdo were to interpret it symbolically. Word is interpreted representative lady that were not doing trying to interpret it literally. Okay, we established that at the very beginning of our study seven candlesticks what what is that that's the churches okay let me give an example here. If you're reading Chapter 11 and you're trying to figure out okay.

My mind is an old and is in a swirl here, two witnesses, and they are dime a lay in the street and are there for three and half days and the resurrected might understand that is to literal people who live in the streets for 3 1/2 days and God breathed life into them in the whole world seen that that was the way I was taught the book of Revelation.

But listen, even in the context of Chapter 11 God is is is reminding us of the key to understanding what he's revealing to us notice with me verse begin at verse seven when they finish their testimony, whose day. Well, the two witnesses, and I'm convinced that that's the church. The church and its witnessing and prophesying and witnessing in not only what they say but witnessing in the way in which they persevere in the midst of persecution and suffering.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them and kill them. Verse eight and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt were also our Lord was crucified, which spiritually so there is a hint right there that were to be understanding this portion of God's word, not literally, but this is speaking in a spiritual fashion is symbolic is representative of something will get there probably next week.

Just again were talking about reorientation. Secondly, denied in terms of reorientation.

I think we need to carefully think about what the Scriptures tell us about tribulation as it relates to the second coming in the Olivet discourse Matthew chapter 24.

Jesus is speaking of the great tribulation, and this is what he says in verse 21 and 22 four. Then there will be great tribulation, such as such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time know nor ever shall be, and unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. What's implied there about the existence of the elect of God.

During the time of the great tribulation. They've got to be on the earth. They've got to be living through that.

The Jesus is talking to. It makes no sense to consider them rapture the way safe in heaven away from God's tribulation, unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. That's a critical passage of Scripture, but not for tonight but I wanted to start there because the Scriptures predict eight. Of unparalleled distress for the people of God that will immediately proceed. The second coming of Christ may say that again.

The Scriptures predict eight.

Of unparalleled distress for the people of God that will immediately proceed. The second coming. Think too often when we hear tribulation or the great tribulation. We think future it's out there somewhere. I think that that is problematic. We need to be thinking that we are living in the last days and that tribulation and persecution is a part of that entire period. The persecution isn't something that's way out there. You know what else helps contribute to us thinking that way is because were living in relative safety. A large portion of Christendom is facing severe persecution and tribulation. If we were where our brothers are in Ukraine. We wouldn't think about tribulation. The way we typically do would be think it will tribulation it way out there in the future. None the word tribulation.

The Greek word is translated tribulation in our New Testament occurs 45 times in the New Testament only once those 45 occurrences does it refer to the wrath of God that Romans chapter 2 and verse five the rest of the occurrences referred to suffering experienced by believers 37 of those occurrences indisputably refer to the tribulation that believers experience throughout this age in which were living under remind you of some things from various New Testament writers. This is Paul and Barnabas warning the new converts in southern Asia minor acts 1422. We must go through many hardships that were translated hardship is that Greek word this translated tribulation. Other places we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. This notion that the road to heaven is just an easy road is foreign to the New Testament, Jesus said this in John 16 verse 33 in this world you will have trouble. Not that you might have trouble, you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.

So the word tribulation refers to a period of intense suffering at the end of history we could look at many scriptures to prove that, but for time sake tonight.

Take my word for that now the final tribulation is a period of severe persecution of Saints who are on the earth now. It is not clear to what extent the final tribulation itself involves the infliction of God's wrath. You understand what I'm saying I read to you. Revelation 15 14 in them the wrath of God is complete. So you say well I thought the wrath of God is reserved for that period of time when the church is been removed and then God pours out his wrath on unbelieving people was not that neat and tidy, because Romans chapter 1 verse 18 says for the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, not will be some day is being revealed present tense, so there is a sense in which the wrath of God is being revealed. Now I can't point to neither can you. That is a manifestation of the wrath of God. But some of what is happening around us is a manifestation of the wrath of God.

So we must be careful that we don't misinterpret the Scriptures to our own liking. Now, although God's judgments are never directed toward those who truly belong to him. God's wrath is never direct did toward those who belong to him. Why do I say that while I say that tonight because our Savior exhausted the wrath of God that should've come to you and I there is no wrath for those who are in Christ Jesus pulses Romans chapter 8 verse one there is therefore now no condemnation to those or in Christ there is no wrath Jesus exhausted God's wrath that was directed toward us. He took our place. He stood in our place.

He substituted in our place and absorb the wrath of God and satisfied that in order to satisfy justice. So it's never direct did toward those who truly belong to him.

The judgments, however, can in directly affect them can affect you and me house that will think about the judgment that was coming on the world in Noah's day known as family. All I'll be I'll be generous here and say that they were inconvenienced by the flood God's judgment on the world had an effect upon Noah and his family.

I wasn't directed at no God preserved no directed them to build an ark. What about Jeremiah and the other prophets when God's wrath was coming upon Israel and carried off to Babylon. Was it directed toward the prophets no they were living in the world and they were affected by so go back to Revelation was exactly correct, said I was being overly ambitious about a three point sermon. This is all for the really good tonight, but this is important in Christ's message to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and three Sterner for moment to the church at Smyrna. Chapter 2 verse 10 these are the lately these are the words of Christ to the church. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. There is a warning of severe tribulation coming, such as it may cost you your life. That's how severe would be faithful unto death.

Chapter 3 to the church in Philadelphia, verse 10 because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. There's a promise that Jesus is making to the church at Philadelphia in the context of an hour of trial that's going to come upon the world to test those who dwell on the earth, and he says I will keep you from the hour of trial. Now the question is how how is he going to keep the church in that hour you so I got the answer to how is going to keep as he's gonna rapture the church away were gonna be here when it happens. Well, might I suggest another way, looking out the question usually is answered the question, how was usually answered through physical removal in a pre-tribulation.

All or a mid tribulation. All rapture could the hobby answered through divine safekeeping during the period of distress because when we read that promise I will keep you.

We lease I do.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you don't think this way but I my first thought is physically he's going to keep us physically. We may keep us physically, but I think the promise is more spiritually he's going to keep us spiritually is going to keep us from falling away is going to keep us from denying our Lord he's gonna keep us so that we will persevere in the midst when he gets turned up.

I think that's how we need be understanding.

This is opposed to well he's going to keep us is gonna safeguard us, like being thrown into the fiery furnace fire all around us towards burned off, but here we stand getting smell smoke on us. That's less that an Old Testament true true story, no question about that.

But to take that store and extrapolate that to this and say well that's how I think is going to keep us talk to when you get to heaven. Talk to those who gave their life and martyrdom didn't work that way for them. There's parallel here and is in John chapter 17. The use of these words, John chapter 17 verse 15. This is parallel phraseology, Jesus is praying to his heavenly father and he says my prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. Now it's clear Jesus is praying for the disciples preservation from the power of Satan. Even though they remain in the world. He says I pray that you not take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one is only three other verses in the New Testament that have God or Christ as its subject and believers as its object.

In this idea of keeping and are all in John chapter 17 John 1711, John 1712, John 1715 and in each case, spiritual preservation is clearly intended. Jesus is going to keep them from the evil one is gonna leave them in the world and he has a purpose for leaving us in the world now no serious Christian believes that the church will not experience tribulation. We read our Bibles at all are mindful of church history know what's going on with the voice of the martyrs. No serious minded Christian thinks that the church will not experience tribulation. At times, severe tribulation. That's been the case of the church throughout its existence.

Start something new, but there's no description of tribulation that indicates that it will involve greater suffering than many believers have already experienced. I hear people talking and say will… Would never allow me your us to suffer this, that and the other you say will what about all gone before us. One of the jobs of a pastor or job description, in part, is given to us in Ephesians chapter forward to equip the saints for the work of ministry in my mind tonight. I brought that mindset to me, Mike. My job is to equip you, and I believe difficult days are coming.

Persecution is coming upon the church in this idea that God just got a rapturous away and were going to be safe and not gonna happen to us will not be a safe place to be standing were gonna go back to Chapter 11. One of the things that surprises me is how little attention is given to Chapter 11 that let me ask you this question. Most people who want to talk about the book of Revelation teaching about a rapture where they go. Chapter 4 verse one okay chapter 4 verse one after these things. John says I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me saying come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. Now that is a long, long stretch to read pre-tribulation rapture in verse one, because that was individually directed to John come up here in his spirit, he remained on the earth. Okay, but Chapter 11 I would set before you, that if you want to hold to a post tribulation approach.

This is this is your passage. You can you can defend another's.

There's some submissions are gonna have to wrestle with. But think about this with me would just step in your Chapter 11 verse 11 now after 3 1/2 days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them was that these are those who witness for Christ.

Those who remained on the earth. Those who were his representatives and the those very same ones.

Verse 12 heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, appear that's not to John that call is to them, appear and they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them in the same hour there was a great earthquake and 1/10 of the city fell to the earthquake and 7000 people were killed and the rest were afraid and gave glory to God, the God of heaven and what comes in verse 15, the reign of Christ, so were going to explore that when we come back here, but when it concluded with these thoughts here. We need to be cautious about any view that exempts us from suffering and persecution because we are believers. Why would we think that God has a different path to glory for us than he had for his own son, why would we think that God has a different plan for us than he had for those who've gone before us and some lay down their life and martyrdom. Here's the sequence here's the order.

We've heard it in Philippians chapter 2 what is the sequence what is the order. It's the same for us as it was for Christ the cross before the crown humiliation before exaltation victory through suffering must not forget the call of Christ. What is the call of Christ is to deny yourself, take up your cross, what does that mean take up your cross. Be willing to give your life for him and his cause and follow him. Paul talked about the fellowship of his sufferings, Peter spoke of participating in the sufferings of Christ as the path to glory in my personal preparation for Easter. I did some reading in JC rows works on the gospel of Luke and I want to conclude with what he had to say terms of commentary on this verse from Luke 22 verse 53 which says these are the words of Jesus when I was with you.

This is Jesus speaking to his enemies.

When I was with you day after day in the temple. You did not lay hands on me, but this is your hour in the power of darkness. Luke 2253. This is what JC Ryle says about that verse and how it applies for consideration tonight.

The time during which evil is permitted to triumph is fixed and limited by God, we read that our Lord said to his enemies when they took him. This is your hour in the power of darkness the sovereignty of God over everything done upon earth is absolute and complete the hands of the wicked are bound until he allows them to work. They can do nothing without his permission. But this is not all the hands of the wicked cannot stir one moment before God allows them to begin and cannot stir one moment after God commands them to stop the very worst of Satan's instruments are working in chains. The devil could not touch Job's property or person until God allowed him he could not prevent Job's prosperity returning when God's designs on Job were accomplished.

Our Lord's enemies could not take and slay him until the appointed hour of his weakness, nor yet could they prevent him rising again when the hour came, in which he was declared the son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead when he was led forth to Calvary.

It was they are our when he rose victorious from the grave. It was his hour the verses before us. Throw light on the history of believers in ages gone by.

From the time of the apostles down to the present day. They have often been severely oppressed and persecuted by the hand of their enemies but the hand of their enemies has never been allowed entirely to prevail the hour of their trials has generally been succeeded by a season of light, the triumph of their enemies has never been entire and complete. They've had their hour, but they've had no more after the persecution with Stephen Payne the conversion of Paul after the martyrdom of John Ross, came the German Reformation after the Marion persecution came the establishment of English Protestantism the longest night, has its morning the sharpest winners have been followed by spring.

The heaviest storms have been changed for blue sky. Let us take comfort in these words of our Lord in looking forward to our future lives. If we are followers of Christ, we shall have an hour of trial in it may be a long hour to. But we may rest assured that the darkness shall not last.

One moment longer than God sees fit for us. It is in his good time, it shall vanish away an evening time, there shall be light. Finally, let us take comfort in these words of our Lord and looking forward to the future history of the church in the world, clouds and darkness may gather round the ark of God, persecutions and tribulations made a sale. The people of God the last day of the church and world will probably be there worst days, but the hour of trial, however grievous will have an end. Even at the worst, we may boldly say the night is far spent in the day is at hand. That is spring father, thank you that you are the sovereign God who is micromanaging this universe to your decree dance and even as it's been prayed already from this place this evening.

All things do indeed work together for good to those who are to those who love you and to those who are the called according to your purpose. Help us to realize that perhaps the greatest deliverance that any believer could ever have. Whether it's giving their life for the cause of Christ is to be translated into the very presence of our Savior, Lord, why should we fear men, why should we fear persecution when the worst they can do to us is to usher us into your presence. Lord, safeguard us, keep us by your power.

Help us to think of right. Help us to be equipped to live in these difficult days. Lord we think of the persecuted church and asked that you would grant them boldness, grant them everything they need to stand for you to persevere and if you would please you to physically preserve them. Yes we pray that, but more importantly than anything. We pray that you would spiritually keep them that they would be faithful to the end. If that indeed is your will for them. So thank you for your church is gathered in this place tonight, and for what we've considered in this time of reorientation user, Lord, for our good and your glory.

We pray in Jesus name, amen


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