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The New Testament Part 2 (Revelation)

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
November 28, 2021 1:00 am

The New Testament Part 2 (Revelation)

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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November 28, 2021 1:00 am

Are you confused by all the various perspectives on the end times? One book in the Bible promises a blessing to all who read it—the Book of Revelation. Rich in symbolism, it portrays the future yet to be: the glorious return of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of God, the Millennial reign, and finally, the eternity which follows. This book leaves no middle ground—and what you decide about Christ in this life will determine what your final destination will be. 

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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There is one book in the Bible that guarantees a blessing to all who read it. It's the very last book, The Book of Revelation. Written in apocalyptic language, rich in symbolism, Revelation portrays the future yet to be, including the glorious return of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the judgments, the millennial reign, and then the eternity which follows. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. On this broadcast, we conclude a four-part overview of the entire Bible in a series that traces the drama of redemption.

Later, Erwin Lutzer will take us on a tour of the entire Book of Revelation. Our service today begins with joyous singing. Sing a song of celebration, lift up a shout of praise for the quiet earth and the calm, for the glory has won. And Lord, we'll look on His face, we'll go to much better place.

Please lift up your mind, lift up your hands and clap for joy the time drawing near, when He will appear. And Lord, we will stand by His side, a strong, pure, spotless bride. We will dance on the streets that are golden, the glorious bride and the grace of the land. Every tongue and tongue and an inch we'll join in the song of the Lamb. We will dance on the streets that are golden, the glorious bride and the grace of the land. Every tongue and tongue and an inch we'll join in the song of the Lamb. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here we go, Praise Him above even we host, Praise the First Son and Holy Ghost of Heaven. I invite you to file along in your bulletin as I read from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25 verses 1 through 13.

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples on the Mount of Olives about the coming of the Son of Man. Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, here is the bridegroom, come out to meet him. Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out. But the wise answered, saying, since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves. And while they were going out to buy, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast and the door was shut.

Afterward the other virgins came also saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered them, truly I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, keep your lamps trimmed and burning, keep your lamps trimmed and burning, the time is drawing by. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, keep your lamps trimmed and burning, the time is drawing by. Children don't get weary, children don't get weary, children don't get weary till your work is done. Children don't get weary, children don't get weary till your work is done. Christian journeys soon be over, Christian journeys soon be over, Christian journeys soon be over, the time is drawing by. Christian journeys soon be over, Christian journeys soon be over, Christian journeys soon be over, the time is drawing by. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, keep your lamps trimmed and burning, the time is drawing by. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, keep your lamps trimmed and burning, the time is drawing by.

No. Thank you so much for being here today and joining with me on a journey. At this time, I want you to make sure that your tray tables and your seat backs are in the upright position. I want you to put on your seat belts because we are going to take a flight that will last no more than 30 or 35 minutes. And in that flight, we are going to see the entire Book of Revelation. We will cover all 22 chapters.

The good thing about this flight is that all of you have a window seat and you will be able to look out of the window and you'll be able to see the landscape throughout the whole time. I don't have any notes with me today that wasn't intentional. I couldn't find them this morning, but God will that I not need them. And so what we're going to do is to look at the Book of Revelation.

I want you to turn to it. And just in case you didn't bring your Bible because you forgot it. All members and those who attend Moody Church regularly bring their Bibles.

But I can imagine that there's someone here who didn't. I think it's going to be on page 1028 of the pew Bibles. You really do need a Bible for this particular trip across the landscape. Notice why I want to preach this message, because it says in verse three of chapter one, blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear and those who keep what is written in it for the time is near.

This is one of seven different blessings in the book. And this one says, blessed are you if you read it out loud. Of course, in churches in those days, people couldn't read for the most part.

So there would be a reader who would be brought in and he would read it. And then blessed are those who hear and you are going to hear and we're going to read parts of it and I will quote parts of it. And when I do, by the way, I'm quoting from the King James, which is the translation that I learned many years as a teenager and also in Bible college.

And so we're going to hear and we are going to keep this this word of God. You see, there are many people who have a mental block against the scriptures. They have that mental block because especially the Book of Revelation seems to be so complicated. And they've looked at charts and they want to know where it all fits in. The early church didn't have charts. They didn't know where it all fits in.

They didn't see the scheme, obviously, about which there is disagreement. And yet the Bible says a special blessing upon you to hear the word of God. This book, this book especially, and to keep it, you can benefit from the Book of Revelation, even if we don't understand all the details. I want you to leave here today excited about this book. I want you to become someone who says that it is my most favorite book in all of the Bible. Blessed are those who listen and who hear. Parts of this book are going to take our breath away.

But we're going to begin in just a moment. Notice in verse nine, John says that he was a brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and patient endurance. He says, I was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. He was there as a prisoner, probably. He was working in the mines that is believed because he was a believer.

He was being persecuted. And it is there that he received this marvelous revelation. The island of Patmos is a beautiful, beautiful island.

Rebecca and I had the chance to be there this past summer. And as you approach the island, you can see its beauty. And then once you're on an island, you can see there a sign that says to the Cave of the Apocalypse. So, of course, we took that sign and we went to the cave. When you get to the entrance, you become somewhat discouraged because I am, of course, skeptical as to whether or not this is the cave in which John received his revelation. But when you go inside, there is something that impresses you.

On the ceiling, there is a crack. Now, this cave is naturally out of rock and there is a crack on the rock. And tradition says that when the voice of Jesus came to John, it says the voice like that of a trumpet, it split the rock. And so when we were there in the cave, we got an idea of what it might be like for John to be there, if indeed it is authentic and it might be.

And then when you leave the cave, you can see the landscape probably much like it was even during the time of John. Now, the text tells us the outline of the book in verse 19. God is speaking, Christ is speaking right, therefore the things that you have seen, that's the vision of chapter 1, the glorious vision of Jesus, the things that you have seen, those that are, that's the chapters 2 and 3, the seven churches and those things that are to take place after this.

And it's the after this that is going to attract our attention. Turn to chapter 4, you'll notice that after the letters are written to the seven churches, chapter 4, after this, I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, come up here and I will show you what must take place after this. And John is transported to heaven. Now, it is often believed and it's the position of Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute, that the coming of Jesus is really in two phases. First of all, you have the rapture of the church, 1 Thessalonians 4, where we as believers are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And then sometime after that, at least seven years after that, it may be longer, you have the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ with his saints. And here, if you believe in the pre-tribulational rapture as we do, it is here that you will put the rapture. Isn't it interesting that in the rest of the book of Revelation, nowhere else in the rest of the book does it refer to the church? A hint that the church is no longer on earth. The body of Christ has been snatched up.

Now, of course, because this is controversial, we here at the church also accept other views. But if you have seen the charts with the rapture, this is where it would be. And John in chapters 4 and 5 sees heaven as no one has ever seen it. But here we're introduced to what is called apocalyptic literature. And notice how John writes. I'm picking it up in verse 6. He's trying to describe what he sees, but he doesn't have the words.

He doesn't have the categories. You'll notice it says, Before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal. We continue to read around the throne, and on each side of the throne are four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature is like a lion. The second living creature is like an ox. It isn't an ox.

It isn't a lion. But John is seeing this marvelous vision. And all that he can do is use analogies all the way through. The other day I was reading chapter 8 about some of the judgments, and there are 13 times at least the word like is used.

It was like locusts, and it was like fire, and the face of someone like a man. On and on it goes, because he's seeing things that can't really be described. And the best he can do is to use analogies to help us to at least begin to think about what it is that he is seeing.

You remember when the Apostle Paul was called into heaven? He says that he heard things that were not lawful for any man to utter. There's another translation, an equally good translation, that would indicate, I saw things that I cannot utter. I can't describe it. It's like trying to, someone has suggested, describe electricity to a primitive tribe, and how are you going to do that? All that you can do is use analogies.

Well, electricity is something like an unseen spirit that runs along things that look like vines, and on and on and on. And apocalyptic literature has to be that way, because we can't get our minds around it. Chapter 5, a dramatic event occurs. You'll notice that in the midst of the throne, he sees at the right hand of him who is seated on the throne, a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals. And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep loudly, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

Why is John crying? This scroll contains the title deed of the universe. It'll have the answer to the question, what about all the martyrs? Did they die in vain?

Is there no justice for them? What about Christians throughout the centuries who believed in heaven? Is there no heaven, no permanent abode? At stake is nothing less than this question, are the promises of God worthy to be believed or are they not?

Is the purpose of God going to be fulfilled or will the purposes of God as he wraps up history, will they be aborted? That's the question and well might John weep. Oh, then and when he weeps, the angel says the elder rather weep no more. Behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.

And again, we're introduced to apocalyptic literature where you have metaphors that are the mixing of metaphors. It is the lion that is going to open the book, but no lion appears. In addition to that, instead of a lion, we have in verse six a lamb. I saw a lamb standing as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes. Have you ever seen a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes?

No. But the lamb, of course, is Jesus. The lion is Jesus. The seven horns indicate authority and kingship. And then the seven eyes, his omniscience, seeing everything in the world and beyond. And you'll notice that these are the seven spirits of God that permeate the earth. Does that mean that we now give up on the Trinity because there are seven spirits of God?

Of course not. Just like the eyes are symbolic of his ability to see all things. The seven spirits indicate the fullness of the Holy Spirit as it permeates the entire universe. And on it goes. And now we come to the seals. Remember this, that this scroll was wrapped up and then you'd unwrap it a piece for chapter one. And then there was another seal and that would be broken. And that would be chapter two, chapter three and all the way along the line.

Have you ever been at a party? Usually it happens at a party where you want to give someone a gift and you give them a real big box. And then within that box, there's another box, there's another box and another box. And then you get to box number seven and box number seven has seven boxes. And then you get to the seventh of that series.

And that one also has seven boxes. That's the way the judgments are in the Book of Revelation. And that's why this time it is so critical for you to look at the chart which was in your bulletin today.

Please turn to it now. Your chart has two different sides to it. One says end of time prophecy.

That's not the one you want to be looking at right now. Look at the one that says the outline of Revelation and notice the judgments. Do you see that the seal judgments are chapter six? And then we have the trumpet judgments eight and nine. And then the seven bowls or saucers with their judgments is chapter 16. So if you wanted to just read all the judgments of the Book of Revelation, you could read chapter six, eight and nine and 16 and you'd have them all. And it is best to see one as the continuation of the other even though there are some reasons that I won't go into where it appears at first that it doesn't fit. But the point is these are the judgments that God is going to heap upon the earth.

These are different than all the persecutions that the church has ever endured because throughout Revelation it will say this is the wrath of God on godless sinful humanity. Now let's look at the first seals of chapter six very briefly. He opens them and the first one is nothing less than false peace.

There is someone riding on a white horse and he has the ability to conquer. The second one clearly is war. You'll notice it says he's permitted to take peace from the earth. The third one, verse five, I heard the living creatures say come and it's a black horse, it's famine. And then you have death in verse seven and this happens to be the fourth seal. But I want you to notice the next seal, the fifth seal, number nine, that is verse nine. 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 witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, oh sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth. And they were each given a white robe and to rest a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brother should be complete who were to be killed as they themselves had been. Parenthesis, have you ever wondered what the people in heaven today are like? They don't have their resurrection bodies yet. My father who died at 106, what is he doing? What does he look like? Can he communicate with others?

Well, obviously the answer is yes. These folks don't have their resurrection bodies. They're waiting for justice and for their bodies.

But notice that the soul takes on the characteristics of the body. And so the fifth seal isn't a judgment per se. It's a little vignette into heaven and on and on the seals go. You say, well, OK, if the seals are chapter six and the trumpet judgments begin, they're eight and nine, what's all the intervening chapters? The intervening chapters are sidebars.

They are sidebars. And we know for sure that they are not chronological. And the reason is because every once in a while you have this vision of the return of Jesus.

And then you go down to earth again. And this is why the book becomes confusing and why it elicits some disagreement is people disagree regarding the schedule, the chronology. And that's why I haven't included any chronology in the chart as such, except the general chronology that is very clear.

Because I don't want you to get hung up on the chronology as much as on the events themselves. Remember, even if we don't understand exactly where they all fit, we can benefit from the book and blessed is the person who hears, who reads, and who does the words of this prophecy. And by the way, the reason prophecy is complicated is you add to this the book of Daniel, which has many prophecies. You add Ezekiel, where Ezekiel talks about Russia. And then he names a lot of countries, most of which are mid-eastern countries, particularly the Islamic nations, going up against Jerusalem and God destroying them.

How do you fit it all in? That's why prophecy is complicated. But today we're going to keep it simple, even though I'm well aware that this message is going to stir up a lot more rabbits than I'm able to shoot. All right?

Now, you're with me. Chapter 7 tells us that people are going to be saved during the tribulation. It tells us that God is going to seal 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each tribe, and they are going to be sealed. And believe it or not, they're going to go all the way through the tribulation, and not one of them is going to die.

We know that later from chapter 14. And it could be that they are the ones who are sealed and God sovereignly saves them. And through their witness in the tribulation, you have a great multitude that no man can number in chapter 7 here, beginning at verse 9. And then John already sees them as being in heaven, and I have to give you these verses. Verse 15, Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple. And he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. The sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat, for the lamb is in the midst of the throne. He will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Wow. Chapter 8 and 9, we now come to the trumpet judgments. The trumpet judgments are so severe you can read them on your own, but there are hailstones, fish of the sea, a third of them are dying.

When you get to chapter 10, it is an encouragement for John. And chapter 11 tells us about two witnesses, and many people think that they are Moses and Elijah, and they witness all during the tribulation period. They do miracles, but they are a threat. They are a threat to the antichrist. And when they are put to death, everybody rejoices.

It's a premature Christmas. They send one another gifts, and then at the end, they are raised and they're taken to heaven. And that's why people think that it may be Moses and Elijah, but they're not identified. When you get to the seventh trumpet, it is the return of Christ in verse 15.

But here is the point I want to make. When you think of the judgment still to come, the bulls or the vials, as they are called, they end up also with the return of Christ, and that's why we say that inherent within the trumpets themselves and this seventh trumpet also is the other judgments. That indicates that they are indeed connected. Chapter 12, what an interesting chapter. Satan pursues Israel. Satan has always hated Israel, the Jews. And the woman who gives birth to the child, and the child is obviously Jesus, is Israel, and Satan pursues it. Satan is cast out of heaven.

You say, well, what in the world is he doing there? Well, the Bible says that he accuses the saints day and night. You look at the book of Job where Satan comes and begins to talk to God about Job. There's that kind of dialogue taking place in the heavens, and Satan is so angry. It says that when he was thrown down to earth, he was so angry.

I love it there in verse 12. He has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short. I can hardly wait for Satan's time to be very, very short.

Do we have any takers out there today? Chapter 13 is all about Antichrist. And it takes your breath away when you realize that God gives them authority. You'll notice it says in verse 7, he was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them, and authority was given to it, that is to the beast, over every tribe and people and language and nation. You think, oh my, Jesus has surrendered his authority. It's given to Antichrist. All who dwell upon the earth will worship him. Well, wait till you read the end of the book. And that's where you have the mark of the beast and so forth.

In chapter 14, you have a vision of these 144,000. They have remained chaste. They were not involved in sexual immorality. That's the idea of the text throughout all this. And they get a brand new song.

Listen to this. It says, verse 3, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. And this was a song that Tim cannot sing and not even Scott Griffin can play on the piano.

I'm serious. It says no one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. So they get a special song.

They belong to a special choir. The last part of the chapter is terrifying. I will not read it to you.

I'll comment on that at the end of the message. Chapter 15 introduces now the bowls. And it says, you'll notice that the wrath of God is finished in 15, verse 1. As I indicated, chapter 16 are now the seven judgments of the bowls.

And these judgments also take your breath away. You'll notice that the Bible says that there is an earthquake, the likes of which has never yet happened upon the earth. We think Haiti's bad. This is going to be an earthquake throughout the whole earth, the Bible says. And it says in verse 21, and great hailstones, about 100 pounds each, fell from heaven on people, and they cursed God for the plague of hail because the plague was so severe.

But you know what? The people do not repent. On and on it goes on to say, even though they were gnawing their tongues in pain, they would not repent. Judgment usually hardens hearts. One time my wife and I had someone at home who was doing some work for us, and of course I was witnessing to him, and he was basically an atheist, and he says, if there's a hell, let God send me there and I'm going to spend all of eternity defying him.

That has got to go down in history as the most stupid, foolish comment that I have ever heard. You are defying God forever, when all that you would need to do is to repent of your sin and acknowledge your need of a savior, and be ready for heaven. And your defiance of God is going to add to his own justice and glory.

It'll be to your hurt and no one else's, but the human heart is wicked. There are all kinds of passages that tell us that. That they even say, 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, but they will not repent of their sins.

Some do, many do not. Now, when we come to chapter 17, what can be said about this? There is a prostitute that is riding a beast. And you'll notice it says in verse 5, on her forehead, 17, 5, was written a name of mystery, Babylon the great mother of prostitutes and the earth's abominations. This is false religion and she rides the beast who is antichrist, and antichrist uses her, but in the end he hates her, throws her off, destroys her.

What's going on there? Antichrist is going to use false religion. He's going to use false religion, but ultimately he's going to destroy all the religions, put himself up as God and ask all people to worship him. That's why this probably relates to earlier in the sequence when antichrist is gaining power at the beginning of the tribulation period.

Chapter 18, read it and weep. This is now commercial Babylon. Some people think Babylon might be rebuilt. I don't know if that's true, but whether it is or not, whether this is symbolic, this is the end of commerce as we know it.

When I read it, I think of New York City, I think of Wall Street. For example, chapter 18, it says in verse 11, and the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargos of gold and on and on it goes. And then it says in verse 15, the merchants of these wares who gained wealth from her will stand afar off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud.

Alas for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple and scarlet adorned with gold, with jewels and pearls, for a single hour all of this wealth has been laid waste. That's what the judgments will do. It will end commerce as we know it.

When you get a new car, and you are so concerned as to whether or not it's going to get a scratch, relax, relax. In the end, it'll totally be destroyed. And the person parking next to you only begins what's going to be an ultimate promise.

Wow. No wonder Peter says what manner of people ought we to be in all conversation and godliness knowing that all these things are going to be destroyed. Now chapter 19, 19, 20, 21 and 22 are in sequence.

You'll be glad to know we finally have a sequence. Chapter 19 opens with the marriage supper of the Lamb. And that's where we will be if we are raptured as many of us believe we will be and we will be having the marriage supper of the Lamb.

You all have to admit that there is no relationship with such ecstasy and joy as the marital relationship between a man and a woman in a good marriage. And God dares to use that as an example of our relationship with him. This is a time of breathtaking, breathtaking fellowship and beauty and purity. Jesus meeting with his saints. And then there is another description of the return of Christ throughout the book of Revelation as I mentioned because the chronology is not what we perhaps might wish it to have been.

There are many descriptions of the return but I suppose there is none like this one that includes us in the glorious return of Christ. Verse 11 of chapter 19. Then I saw heaven open and behold a white horse. This now is Jesus. The one sitting on it is called faithful and true and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire and on his head are many diadems and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and has the name which is called the word of God. And the armies of heaven arrayed in fine linen white and pure were following him on white horses.

That's us folks if we trusted Jesus. From his mouth, yes we can clap after I'm finished let's do that okay. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with it to strike down the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written.

Let's hear it now for him. King of kings and Lord of lords. The words. And then the judgment is described. Chapter 20 talks about a period of peace for a thousand years. You know where do theologians get this idea of the millennium? If you take your chart and turn it on the other side you'll notice that it says the church age, tribulation seven years, millennium a thousand years.

Where did that they pull that out? Well in the Old Testament this period of peace was predicted. In the New Testament here in chapter 20 six times you have a reference to a thousand years.

And by the way have you been scared to be beheaded for the faith? You'll notice it says those who die in the tribulation who are beheaded. It says they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

This is verse four. Everything is a thousand years. And then at the end of the thousand years Satan is bound during the thousand years. And at the end of the thousand years what you have is the final judgment. And now it is time for you to simply catch your breath.

I hadn't planned on quoting it but I'll see how I do. I beheld a great white throne and him that sat on it. Before whose face the earth and the heavens fled away and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead small and great stand before God and the books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written on the book. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it and death and Hades delivered up the dead which were in them. And they were judged every man according to what was in the books. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Wow. All of the people who appear at this judgment are unbelievers. They have one thing in common. They are kings, they are paupers, they are rich, they are poor, they are from every nation and every religion. But they share one thing and that is they don't have the righteousness that God requires to enter into heaven.

Because they didn't receive the gift of Jesus. I promise you that if God gives me health and if I'm still around for a few months and maybe even years, who knows? I promise you that I will preach an entire message on chapters 21 and 22. The beauty of heaven is overwhelming. John sees this new heaven and new earth come down from God out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband.

And he hears a great voice saying, behold all things are new. And lots of things won't be there, no more crying or death. But the most beautiful thing about it is, it says, behold the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, they will be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death nor pain for the former things are passed away. All the way from the beginning, beginning in Leviticus and Exodus, God says I want to dwell with my people.

I want to dwell with them. And God can't dwell with them like he'd like to because of sin. It is true that God dwells with us as his people. But his dwelling always has to be mediated because sin keeps getting in the way. Imagine a time, nothing but purity, nothing but holiness. And we dwell directly unmediated with God. What does the book of Revelation teach us? What is the bottom line?

Let me give you three very quickly. First of all, the great divide. It's the great divide. I read this book and I wish that, you know, I read it and I say, where are all the people who aren't quite good enough to go to heaven, but they're not bad enough for hell either? Where are they? Nowhere. It's either hell or heaven. The book of Revelation is really the tale of two cities, Babylon and Jerusalem, or the tale of two women, if you wish, the prostitute and the bride of Christ.

It's either one or the other. Either you have enough righteousness to enter into heaven or you don't. Last week I was speaking in Palm Springs and the man who took us to the airport said, you know that Frank Sinatra is just buried in the cemetery just across from us. And I said, well, pick us up early on the way to the airport tomorrow and let's go see Frank's grave. What do you think was on Frank Sinatra's grave? I know you're thinking I did it my way, but that isn't what was on his grave. It was a different song entitled The Best is Yet to Come. Out of the tree of life, I just picked me a plum.

You came along and everything started to hum. Still it's a real good bet. The best is yet to come. It's about a romance.

I don't want to judge Frank Sinatra. Let God be his judge. But look at what it says in the book of Revelation.

Now we're in chapter 22. This is the last beatitude in the book, by the way, of the seven, verse 14 of chapter 22. Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they might have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter into the city by the gates. God is Frank Sinatra's judge. But if he did not wash his robes that he would have the right to enter into the city by the gates, for him the best was not to come. I see this great divide.

That's the first thing. I have to ask you today, have you washed your robes? I mean, have you been cleansed by the blood of Christ?

See, there is no other way. Don't tell me that you think another religion is as good. It can't be because it doesn't have a savior. Teachers may be, but no savior able to cleanse you from sin, that you might be washed and enter into the city. It says outside of the city are dogs, that is perverse people, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. And the way you get from verse 15 to 14 is you have your robes washed. Many people will be in heaven who were sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, and idolaters. They're going to be there in heaven.

Why? Because of verse 14, they wash their robes by receiving Christ as savior. Apart from that, I'm just reading the text. So first of all, the great divide. Second, the length of eternity. Time is short, eternity is long. You know that little phrase forever and ever occurs 13 times in the book of Revelation. It talks about hell, the smoke of their torment. I didn't read this in chapter 14 because it's too terrifying. But it says the smoke of their torment goes on forever and ever. And then regarding us, it says we will reign forever and ever. I don't have time to tell you how long eternity is.

I guess it would take me an eternity. Really, read it and weep. Finally, I marvel at the absolute total unquestioned triumph of Jesus. Look at this, chapter 13. Chapter 13, Antichrist has given power over people that he can even have power over the saints and kill them and all the world worships him. Now listen to this, chapter 15. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire and them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his number and over his mark and they stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God and they sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb saying Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty. Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? Who comes out triumphant? Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords.

Things are not as they appear to be in chapter 13 because chapter 15 is coming. And then you think of the chaos in the world and you think of the beauty of heaven and I beheld a pure river of water of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne and from the Lamb and in the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river was there the tree of life which gives its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations and there shall be no more curse for the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. And his servants shall worship him and they shall see his face and his name shall be on their foreheads and there is no need of the sun for the Lord God gives them light and they shall reign with him forever and ever.

Wow! He that testifies these things saith, Behold, I come quickly. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

Let's bow in prayer. There are some of you for whom this message was especially meant. You have never trusted Christ as Savior. You have never been washed and purified through his sacrifice.

Oh, that you might have the right to enter the city. The way you do it is you receive Christ. You say I'm a sinner. I deserve judgment, but I receive the gift of eternal life.

Do it right now where you are seated in the balcony on the lower floor here of the sanctuary of Moody Church, you're watching by internet, listening on the radio. Right now you receive Christ. Say, Jesus, I believe you and I receive you as my Savior. Father, confirm that decision in the lives of many today and we pray. Those of us who love him pray, even so come, Lord Jesus. All may I know the child is a-hearing, only as born to walk with him in light. When I shall stand within the court of heaven, where white oak pilgrims fast before my sight, earth's martyred saints and blood washed over colors, these men are they who walk with him in light. When he shall come from earth's remotest corners, all who have stood triumphant in his might, come to thee, worthy men, to stand beside them.

Rending at morn to walk with him in light. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer spoke on the New Testament Part 2, the last of four messages in a series on the drama of redemption. We hope today's overview of Revelation will help you put all the pieces of the Bible together in a grand unity of purpose.

The Drama of Redemption series helps us make sense of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We'd like to put this four-part series in your hands on either CD or DVD as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001. Ask about the drama of redemption when you call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Also, you can go online at moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer, all one word, dot com. Join us next week for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 16:52:59 / 2023-07-16 17:10:35 / 18

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