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December 1, 2020 12:00 am
1973. Why is difficulty in my life. In 1984. Why does my job in 2005 significant things to us now that we ask God for wisdom about what you are this choral outburst is focused upon and flooded with the exaltation of God through generations ago in the perfect presence of God self is holy God allowed the unjustly or I can't wait to ask God why he allowed evil in the world.
The truth is when we get to heaven we will be so consumed with the glory of God that we won't be thinking about ourselves will be thinking about him and praising him. I'm glad you joined us today here on wisdom for the hearts for each one of us. Death is inevitable. We need to be certain about where we are spending eternity. So here's Steve and Dave with the lesson he's calling the grim reaper. One of the most recognizable figures of all time is simply named the Grim Reaper is typically caricatured as a skeleton wearing a black robe.
His face is nearly hidden by his hood. His hands are bare-bones and you see them exposed as he raises that one particular possession of his that side or sickle in the Western world going all back to the medieval. He often rode or was pictured as writing a pale horse or was driven in an old coach pulled by pale white horses you can trace the Grim Reaper all the way back to Rome. In fact, even before then through the mythologies of Greece. Chronos was supposedly the Grecian God the original Grim Reaper. He was given a site for a sickle by his mother as he had been held captive by his father inside of earth without sickle.
He escaped and then killed his father. Trouble was, he became so fearful of his own life. He uses that sickle on everyone who came here the character of the Grim Reaper developed through the centuries as one who actually just came to take people away when the time was up. He supposedly had the power to determine death with the mayor touch of his sickle. It was he who led departed spirits to the afterworld in the cultic world.
The Grim Reaper is actually the symbol of death. He is universally held in some form or another. Eventually everyone meets up with this hooded agents of death. One poet put it, rather, simply when he wrote you can be a king or a street sweeper but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper so the world of her attempts to mitigate their fear of this terminal touch of the Grim Reaper and one Wall Street Journal article I was given some time ago by church member talked about some rather extravagant efforts on the part of a lot of people in one particular country to try to avoid the concept of death, the country of Madagascar you think of Madagascar you think of animals escaping to go back and live there right. These are people who save up money for years and then with that money. Throw a party. They exhume the body of some departed loved one, wrap them in a new shroud and then introduce them to all of the people in their lives they paid dearly to cater food for hundreds of people who will come to these special events is one particular man interviewed had more than a thousand, that he paid to feed these departed family members common nightmares to their living relatives complaining that the tomb is cold and if they love them. They would let them out in what they call a ceremony of turning the dead, those who do this for their deceased relatives are assured that their departed loved ones will give them life and health and and wealth and happiness. But if the dead are left neglected and cold in there to.
They will bring unemployment disease and misery.
So these people are convinced that those who die must be familiar with their lives in order to help them so they literally stroll through their towns, carrying their shroud of the loved ones on their shoulders showing their ancestors. What's new new buildings that have been built a new family members. They introduce them to children who been born since they were placed in the two they interviewed one individual who become a Christian and who refused to participate any longer.
He stated that he no longer believe that the departed dad were even interested in the party and that they certainly can respond with gratitude having been brought from their tombs for this revelry for his disbelief. He and many other believers are often disowned, found it interesting that in the 19th century, the Queen of this country ordered her soldiers to push all converts to Christianity off the nearby cliffs, which they did.
Today much of their religion is bondage and fear of dying.
This article added the people in this country try to lead a good life so that they will not be forgotten by their families when they die and so they they live in such a way that they themselves will be brought out of their tombs. One day the party with the families of their own in the light of day. Tragic is that this is their way this somehow avoid the touch of the Grim Reaper to mitigate that touch.
Reminds me of the terrible reality of life after death for those who don't know Christ revealed for us in Luke 16 by the Lord. He spoke of the man in torment as he begged for a drop of water to touch his tongue and when he was refused. He said please send somebody back to my family and warned them of this place was refused that as well. Of course this and if these shrouded skeletons in Madagascar are could actually speak to the revelers at their party.
They would not be promising them wealth and happiness they would be warning them of this place yet to come. Grim Reaper is nothing to celebrate. For the believer.
This is the assurance we do not fear some Grim Reaper to be absent from the body is to be present, with whom the Lord is 58. There is the immediate translation of the spirit of the immaterial part of you, which is really you to heaven to be with Christ.
Our bodies go in the grave to decay. But there will be a coming resurrection word, our bodies will be instantly re-created and glorified reunited with our spirits that have been enjoying the presence of Christ in that glorified immortal state to enjoy the kingdom and the eternal state of the new heaven and a new earth for screen is 15 now, not just where did mankind get this universal concept of a Grim Reaper from the truth of God written on their hearts.
Romans chapter 2 verse five mankind knows what ever having read that it is appointed on the man to die and after that something the Bible clearly states it is the judgment, so mankind because he has this intuitive sense that something is happening and they may not be ready for it and it may not be very good. They come up with religious escape hatches and spiritual loopholes to try and bring some comfort maybe will bring the bones out of a grave event and will consider them still alive. They're really not in any place really maybe will bury the bones in in a beautiful tomb and in a church graveyard or maybe will bury them inside the church. There's an idea. So you go to the cathedrals of Europe and in the faraway places and notice they are nothing more than indoor graveyard for the wealthy and the politically connected. Poor people are buried outside the lease. The close or perhaps her bones are kept in some underground vault at least or near the church. I walked to the car doors underneath St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria were so many religious leaders lie in caskets on shelves of stone and plaster the names and dates of religious leaders are there on the casket and you can down hallways and see them. I've stood by the caskets of religious leaders whose burial dates.
Corresponded with the ministry of Martin Luther, the monk who attempted to reform the church and that Reformation through Austria and everywhere else into an uproar. I have stood in underground.
St. Stephen's vault before the casket of the bishop who served Vienna letter. During Martin Luther's ministry and I stood there and couldn't help but wonder because he had indeed heard that he believed that the just shall live by faith. I hope to. I looked at all the bones stacked inside these underground vaults.
Many of them having died in the bubonic plague of 1735 they would've considered it a privilege to have her bones stacked under underground your close your your close to the altar in the basement. But no matter, it's safe, but upstairs to be buried in the floor of the Cathedral nearest the altar. That's even safer. So inside the church of St. Stephens are the tombs of King and princes in the remains of members of royal dynasty, the well-connected, the wealthy, hoping somehow they could soften the touch of the Grim Reaper a few years ago. The movie came out of the bucket list read. It was about to terminally amended and go see it, but is played by two men, one Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman to take a road trip together to do the things they always said they'd want to do for the kick the bucket. Nicholson was interviewed by Parade magazine before the movie came out in and asked about his personal beliefs and the families quite sad. He said well I used to live so freely. I said hey you can have whatever rules you want. So I'm going to have mine. I'll except the guilt I'll pay the check, I'll do the time. Sounds brave doesn't is that I chose my own way.
But as I've gotten older I've had to adjust. Don't we all. When we get older begin to think a little differently. He said we all want to go on forever, don't we.
We fear the unknown and everybody goes to that wall yet nobody knows what's on the other side. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been told it's on the other side of death, I found it fascinating in my study to discover that this nearly universal metaphor of death. The Grim Reaper is actually found in Scripture, you will believe in what book Revelation. Amazing isn't it. Turn to Revelation, then let's find it together. Chapter 14.
This is the place where the hood will be taken off, so to speak, and the robe thrown aside and mankind will discover too late that the caricature of the Grim Reaper is in reality none other than Jesus Christ sovereign Lord that before we dive into the particulars.
John previews for us what is going to happen in the latter months of the great tribulation.
John will refer to the coming of Christ, and will use the metaphor of two different harvests that take place by reapers two different metaphors are used for the reaping of God's judgment on earth.
One is a harvest of grain. That's verses 14 to 16. The other is what we could call the harvest of grapes. That's verses 17 to 20 that a harvest of grain is an overview of the coming bowls of wrath that are poured out in the last cataclysmic acts of judgment upon earth.
The harvest of grapes is an overview of the battle of Armageddon were the final battle was fought as Christ returns to establish his earthly reign for 1000 years. Both harvests include a sickle. Both harvests involve reaping the detailed accounts of these two harvests are given to us in chapter 16 through 19.
John's just giving us an overview a preview of things to come in these two chapters, chapters 14 and 15. Let's look at the first reaping the takes place in this harvest of grain Revelation chapter 14 verse 14 then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, having a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Ladies and gentlemen, here is the genuine Grim Reaper here. Here is here is that intuitively known nightmare of mankind returning in the living collar. This is no cartoon. This is no joke.
This is real. This reaper is Jesus Christ never told and immediately arrested by several descriptive phrases.
John writes that I looked, and behold, that's his way of saying and can you believe that wow all white cloud sitting on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, now this is more fluffy cloud. This is referring to more than a fluffy cumulonimbus or maybe even numbers Stratus I had to look that up to hold your applause okay and to practice saying it just right and Betty came out the third time just right. This is more than those you know fluffy white clouds.
We think the word cloud is very significant in the Bible, and you can trace references to clouds and the appearance or the power of God, there is the cloud of of God's Shekinah glory that is referenced in fact it's here in Revelation chapter 14 verse 14. This is the brilliant display of God's glory in this cloud disorder follows the Lord from eternity to eternity. You find the tracking as it were surrounded by the Shekinah brilliance referred to as a cloud from old to new testament.
This is the cloud that referenced God's presence, as it led the Israelites and their wandering through the wilderness. In Exodus 13.
This is the same cloud that appeared when Moses was given the law on Mount Sinai beginning in Exodus chapter 19 this is the cloud covered the Lord when he came to speak to Moses after Moses selected the 70 elders in numbers 11. This is the cloud of glory that filled the temple. When it was completed first Kings chapter 8 reads that the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord is more than fluffy vapor. This is a reference to the Shekinah glory of our sovereign God. In fact, when Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit as she version conceived the power of God. ET Robertson, the noted Greek scholar said that these words suggest that she was overshadowed by this cloud of glory, encircling her representing the presence and power of God.
This is the same cloud that received Christ as he ascended into the heavens.
Acts chapter 1.
This is the Shekinah glory that knocked Saul off his horse causing blindness as he raced toward Damascus to find and persecute more Christian these of the other clouds of Shekinah glory that envelops the church as she is enraptured to meet the Lord in the clouds in the air.
That is the very presence of the glory of God.
This unbelievable brilliance perhaps seen only by rapture. These are the clouds of Shekinah glory that the Daniel spoke of world Son of Man, which is a reference to the Messiah, will return with the cloud of heaven.
Another words is going to return when data worth with the display of divine brilliance and splendor. Jesus Christ said of himself in Luke chapter 21 they shall see the Son of Man coming in the cloud of great glory. So picture in your mind. This is brilliant light displayed to wall. Speaking of the full and glorious deity of our Lord Christ. So here he comes. Which by the way, means were there with him. This is your future your reading were not just floating on some fluffy cloud. This is a reference to the fact that when we returned with crisis of his kingdom to be surrounded by the brilliant light and incredible splendor of our sovereign's glory were in the year. This is our future experience you may have wondered as I read certainly struck my mind why John would write a Son of Man instead of the Son of Man. In verse 14. I believe it's more than likely to strengthen the connection of his statement with the prophecy of Daniel were Daniel refers to a Son of Man, a messianic title, so John refers to in this way. In fact, there is no question in Daniel seven.
This is, nor is there any question in Revelation chapter 14. John will also use the expression Son of Man in chapter 1 of Revelation, and there's no question he's talking about the second person of the Godhead are Lord living Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, notice next phrase here in verse 14 were told. The Son of Man has a golden crown on his head. The crown is the Greek word is Stephanopoulos. It was a crown given to conquerors. Those who were victorious was given athletes.
It was just a simple reef. It would be given to those who were victorious soldier. General returning and victory would wear a Stephanopoulos later on in chapter 19 of Revelation.
That word will be changed from Stefan Aust to Diane Dame which gives us our word diadem.
It's the crown of the monarch so Christ is coming here back to rain and he's coming and it is his initial coming. He's announcing his victory.
He is the victorious general battle will ensue for just a brief moment in human history.
Later, he will sit on David's throne as the monarch, the King of Kings and the Lord of lords. By the way, before we go any further. Here in this text you're reading for the last time any reference to Jesus Christ as the Son of Man, this is it. The Lord often use this phrase. In fact, it was his preferred title as he would emphasizes full humanity and yet his messianic title referring to his full deity he God incarnate, had come as God's anointed. But here Revelation 14 verse 14. This is the last time you hear this title use. I think it's interesting the first time we ever saw this title is in Matthew chapter 8 verse 20 were were told that the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. In other words, he is not saying now in this, the last time the title is use were told he was everything is coming to claim the world as his own. He God incarnate the Son of Man, the Messiah, the embodiment of deity. A knock on the door to Jehovah's Witnesses came interrupted my study of this very text perfect timing. I just would let him go either. I got to practice. I need to practice in and they pulled the other friends. Pull-up waited three times weekly.
Really thank you Sir, we really need to need to leave now.
Stay right there not done finally cut them loose were happy to leave first time Jesus Christ came he came in poverty. The second time he comes comes in power. We don't miss it the first time the Son of Man appears on the scene he comes as a sober now comes as a reaper divine judgment and he will come wrapped in the Shekinah glory of his own deity displaying the fullness of the Godhead. Just as we see many events take place on earth during these days signaled by some announcement by an Angel who sort of pulls the trigger. So an angel pulls the trigger, so to speak on Christ's judgment of her verse 15 and another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come is the harvest of the earth is right.
He who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth. The earth was reaped. Now in these balls. Not all unbelievers die fact, there will be those who will be separated as tears from the wheat and the judgment following this period of time, but this will be great devastation. In fact, I agree with one author who wrote that this phrase the earth was reaped as one of the most tragic and sobering statements in all the mercy of God's finished were hitting the pause button right because there's much more to this lesson, but we don't have time for it today. As we've seen so far, Jesus comes as either the great Redeemer or as the grim reaper depending on your relationship with him.
You've been listening to wisdom for the hearts with Stephen Davey, in addition to being our daily Bible teacher. Stephen is also the pastor of a church in Cary, North Carolina, and he's the president of shepherd's theological seminary. How would your life be impacted if you were to set aside one year to study God's word experience authentic community growing discipleship take a trip to Israel to do some study and earn your Masters degree in theological studies all in one year. The school Stephen leads offers a special program called shepherd's Institute where you can experience all that I just described this unique one year program offers life-changing opportunities for all believers no matter your vocation. We've had men and women join us right out of college and before entering their career they spend one year in God's word earn their master's degree and then enter the workforce better equipped to serve God in their church and community. We've also had men join us who believe they were called to be a pastor. Whatever God has called you to investing one year like this will help you invest one year of your life to equip yourself for the rest of your life. Stephen and the world-class faculty are eager to invest in you. Learn more at shepherd's.edu. I also invite you to explore our website wisdom online.org which is filled with resources to help you grow in your faith. As I said earlier will conclude this lesson tomorrow. So join us here with