This is the Church in Heaven. The Church from Pentecost all the way to the Rapture, betrothed to Jesus. We've been waiting for Him to come and literally sweep us off our feet, where we will be with Him. Jesus' Second Coming is the culmination of redemptive history.
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Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer, or call 800-922-1888. We're in Revelation chapter 19, as we join Skip Heitig for today's study. I have a friend who wrote a book, and in the book he talks about that he was visiting an institution for mentally handicapped children. And it broke his heart as he was touring this facility. And what he noticed as he was going from hallway to hallway and room to room is that all of the windows that face outside had little handprints on them, fingerprints. And so he wanted to know what's up with that. And the director said, the children here love Jesus, and they're so eager for Him to return that they lean against the windows as they look up to the sky.
And I read that and I said, if that's what it means to be mentally handicapped, let me be so afflicted. Because here you have these kids eagerly waiting for Jesus Christ to return. But now we come to the second coming. Now we fast forward from the event we looked at last week to the end of a period of time typically known as the tribulation period. What Jesus described as the worst time ever on planet earth.
It will make the pandemic look like a cakewalk. We talk about judgment of biblical proportions. The world is going to set a whole new standard of biblical proportions when it comes to the last part of that coming period of wrath called the great tribulation. I've had you turn to the end of that, Revelation chapter 19, and I want to show you the event as described by John in the vision, but I want to show you four facets of the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth.
And here's the first facet, and we're just about to read it. The second coming of Christ will be preceded by a supper, a very particular event. Verse one of Revelation 19, after these things, I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven saying, Alleluia, salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God, for true and righteous are his judgments because he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication. It's a reference to Babylon.
The last world government will be dubbed Babylon. The economic side is seen in chapter 18. The religious side is seen in Revelation 17. All that's passed.
That's over. And it says he has avenged on her the blood of his servants shed by her. Again, they said, Alleluia, her smoke rises up forever and ever. And the 24 elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, Amen. Alleluia. I mean, they're getting Pentecostal now.
They're just there into it. Then a voice came from heaven saying, Praise our God, all you his servants and those who fear him, both small and great. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. 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. And to her it was granted to be a raid and fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, Right. Blessed are those here it is who are called to the marriage supper of the lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God. A lot of times we talk about a marriage made in heaven. This is a marriage in heaven, a marriage feast in heaven.
Let me just give you a quick background. Quick. In Revelation 19, the camera shifts. The scene is different. Chapter six through the end of 18 takes place on earth.
All the focus is on the earth. There's several judgments that take place. There are seven seals on a scroll, and each one gets busted off. Judgments pour forth. After the seven seals come seven trumpets that are blown. With each blast of the trumpet, more judgments hit the earth. After that, seven more bowl judgments were vials or bowls of judgment are poured out upon the earth.
Each one seems to get worse and worse and worse till it's finally over. And chapter 19 takes place in heaven, and it's an incredible scene. It's a wedding scene, a wedding that will be bigger and better and more ground grander than any royal wedding that you've ever seen on TV, whether it's Charles and Diana or Meghan Merkle and Prince Harry. Is that right?
Did we get that right? So, you know, we love royal weddings. What's going to go on in heaven is going to make all those royal weddings look like a cheap Las Vegas presided over by a fake Elvis wedding, one of those kind of things. It is the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the symbolism is pretty straightforward if you know your New Testament.
The Lamb is Jesus. The bride is the church. The church is called the bride of Christ. And this is Jesus with the bridegroom in a celebration in heaven. Now, last week we told you about the rapture of the church, and we talked about the coming of the Lord for his saints, and we gave you the outline of a Jewish wedding. You remember that?
So just refresh your memory really quick. This couple has probably been arranged to be married since they were little kids, but the couple grows up, and they're at the age to be married, so the groom, or the groom-to-be, goes to the house where the bride lives, her father's house, and makes formal arrangements, a betrothal, an engagement. Lasts up to about a year, several months to a year. After that, after the betrothal, he goes back to his father's house and builds a room on his father's house, where they will live after they're married. At some point in the future, he asks dad's permission to go get his bride.
Dad gives permission. So the groom goes back to the bride's house. She doesn't know when he's coming.
She always has to be ready. You know, he can't text her 2,000 years ago and say, I'm on my way, heads up. So he just shows up, and when he comes close, somebody with a shofar, a trumpet, blows it to let everybody know party's about to come down. And then when he's close by the house of the bride, he lets out a shout to let her know and let them know inside that he has arrived.
Then he takes her with him back to the father's house, where they have the formal wedding and a wedding feast that typically lasts for about seven days. So that's the background of all of this. This is the church in heaven, the church from Pentecost all the way to the rapture, betrothed to Jesus. We've been waiting for him to come and literally sweep us off our feet, where we will be with him. This is the language that Paul had in mind. In 2 Corinthians 11, he said, I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, for I have betrothed you.
There's the idea. I've engaged you. I have betrothed you to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. So we are in the courtship phase. There is no physical contact. There is no bodily contact. We're betrothed, and we're awaiting the groom to come and take us away.
That's the background. Now, question. The bridegroom here is referred to first as a lamb. That's interesting to me because of all the titles of Jesus Christ, why is the groom referred to as the lamb?
Why is Jesus called the lamb? He could be called the creator. He could be called king. He could be called Lord. He could be called master.
He could be called prince of peace. But here, it's the lamb and the bride. And here's my thought. He's presented here as a lamb because it was the lamb that you fell in love with. You didn't fall in love with the creator, God. You fell in love with the one who offered to take your sin and mine and wash it all away.
And that attracted you to him. So you fell in love with the lamb because that was his chief ministry was to come and purge us of our sin. So it is the marriage supper of the lamb. Now, you'll notice that it's quite a celebration. It's like the party of all parties. There's great joy, enthusiasm. There's celebration. There seems to be wedding guests. We have not only the 24 elders in verse 4, which I believe is representative of the church.
I don't have time to explain why that is. I wrote a commentary in the book of Revelation where I did that. But it's a motif from chapter 4 and 5 of Revelation. So I believe the 24 elders are representative of the church. Notice also there are four living creatures. They show up in heaven also in chapter 4 and 5. These are four special angels of God's presence, cherubim, who are always around the throne of God to give Him praise. Then in verse 1, John says, I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven.
Probably all those angels that John also told us about in chapters 4 and 5. And notice that they are using a word of praise here. They use it four times, the word hallelujah.
Now here's what's interesting about the word hallelujah. It's the only time it appears in the entire New Testament. It's an Old Testament word. It shows up a lot in the book of Psalms. But you don't read about it in the New Testament until here. In the Old Testament it's spelled with an H, hallelujah.
But it's the same idea. It means praise the Lord. But four times at the marriage supper of the Lamb, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.
Just get into it. It's as if they have been restrained until now. And now they let loose.
Something else. Look at verse 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, there they are again. But listen to how loud. As the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings. Does that sound quiet to you? That sounds pretty boisterous, right?
It sounds loud. So it shows me that heaven is a place of lots of activity and pretty noisy. I say that smiling.
See, this is me smiling. Because I think back to when I was a kid going to church and my mom always said, shh. And I'd say, why? She said, it's church. Like, okay, it's church so be quiet. It's God's house. God doesn't like noise. You may want earplugs then when you get to heaven.
Because it sounds and looks and reads like it's a very active, alive, and loud place. So that's the first aspect. That's the first facet of this second coming. It is preceded by a supper.
Second thing I want you to note is that it is predicted by the Scripture. And I'm going to take you to verse 10 where that's highlighted. It says, and I fell at His feet to worship Him. Now, this is the angelic being that John sees and bows down to worship. I just think John is overcome with emotion. He's just reflexively doing this. He's not really thinking about, oh yeah, I shouldn't be worshiping angels. He just does it.
But he said to me, see that you do not do that. I am your fellow servant and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. But here's the key phrase, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Let that phrase just sort of seep into your mind and soul. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Listen to it in the New Living Translation. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus. You see, the central theme of all prophetic literature, the central focus is none other than Jesus Christ. And what's more, they had a lot to say about His second coming.
Listen to this. Next to the subject of faith, there is no subject discussed more in the Bible than the second coming of Christ. Next to the subject of faith, there is no subject covered as much as the second coming of Christ. The second coming is dealt with 1,845 times. So some dudes out there counting that. That's a lot of times. 1,527 times in the Old Testament, 318 in the New Testament. For every time the first coming is mentioned, the Bethlehem event, the second coming is mentioned eight times.
So it's a factor of 8 to 1. Also, for every time the atonement is mentioned, the second coming is mentioned twice. Jesus personally referred to His return 21 times, and 50 times, or over 50 times, we are told to be ready for it. So Jesus is the star on the stage of Bible prophecy, and the second coming takes a lot of that attention. And when the Bible makes prophecies, when the prophets were predicting, they were predicting principally one of two things. Either His first coming or His second coming, as we've mentioned. We talk about the scarlet threat of redemption, right? We've talked about that before, that the sacrifice of Christ is seen through the pages of Scripture.
I wrote a book called Bloodline on that theme. But more than that, more than the scarlet threat of redemption is the golden thread of His righteous rule at the second coming. Now, the Jewish people, all Jewish people, Orthodox Jewish people, have looked for a Messiah for 3500 years. Most of them don't believe He has come yet. So they're still waiting.
But Orthodox Jewish people for 3500 years have said a prayer like this. I believe in the coming of Messiah, and even though He tarry, I shall wait for Him every coming day. I believe in the coming of Messiah, and even though He tarry, I shall wait for Him every coming day. It's been their prayer, that's been their anticipation. Well, the prophets predicted that He would come.
That's why they're waiting. But Jesus fulfilled those prophecies. We know that, we've seen that, we've looked at that. But when the prophets were looking into the future, they anticipated not only His coming, but His coming in glory to reign.
And some of those we are familiar with. We are familiar with Isaiah's prophecy when he said, unto us a child is born. Remember that prophecy, unto us a son is given.
You know when we usually quote that? Christmas time. Listen to the whole prophecy, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Here it is. And the government will be on His shoulder. That hasn't happened yet. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Here it is. Of the increase of His government, there will be no end. Upon the throne of David to order and establish it from this time forth, even forevermore, even the Lord of Hosts will perform this. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this. That is about this event, the second coming of Christ. Daniel predicted this event.
Actually, Daniel interpreted a dream of a pagan king named Nebuchadnezzar who couldn't sleep one night. He goes, man, I had a bad dream last night. You better tell me what it is. I don't know what it is or I won't tell you what it is, but you have to tell me what it is and what it means.
Nobody could do it. Daniel comes in and goes, you saw an image of all these different metals. And then in your dream, you saw the stone coming out of the heavens. Remember that dream in Daniel chapter 2? It hit the image.
It destroyed the image. And that stone grew in the mountain that covered the earth. And Nebuchadnezzar said, man, you nailed it.
It's exactly what I dreamed. Now, what does it mean? So Daniel says, well, there's a whole bunch of kingdoms that are going to come and you're the first guy on the list.
You're the head of gold. But after you will come other kingdoms. But here's this part. Then the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and stand forever.
That's this event. That's when it starts. That's when the kingdom gets established. Remember when Jesus stood before Pilate and Pilate had a conversation with Christ and Pilate said, so you're a king? And Jesus said, you're right to say that I'm a king. But he said, my kingdom is not of this world.
But now the kingdom is. And now he comes back and he comes to hang up a sign in effect that says under new management because he is the king of kings and the Lord of lords. Also, Jesus spoke very plainly about this second coming.
Listen to how he puts it. Now, this is Matthew 24. This is Jesus' own eschatological sermon because the disciples said, so when are you coming back and what are the signs of all that? So he tells the Matthew 24 on the Mount of Olives. He says, immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened.
The moon will not give its light. The stars will fall from heaven. The powers of the heavens will be shaken. All of that is written about in Revelation Chapter 6 through 18. Then, listen to this, then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. That's his second coming. And then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. So Isaiah the prophet, Daniel the prophet, other prophets all the way back have predicted this event. Jesus himself articulated this event. Also, some of the greatest songs of the church have been about the second coming.
You guys know the name Charles and John Wesley. If you know, go ahead and raise your hand again. This is church. You can raise your hand up. God bless you. I see that hand.
No, I'm just kidding. Okay, so John and Charles Wesley were these great preacher revivalists. John Wesley was like the preacher guy. Charles Wesley wrote songs.
You know how many songs Charles Wesley wrote? 6,500. Some say up to 8,000.
But let's just, let's be conservative. Let's be skimpy here, shall we? 6,500 songs. Man, I've written like 6.
6,500 he wrote. The majority of Charles Wesley's hymns focus on the second coming of Christ. That's Skip Heitzig's message from the series 2020. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep this broadcast going strong, connecting you and many others to the good news of Jesus. The Bible tells us that God has put eternity in your heart.
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