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Bound by an Angel

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2022 12:00 am

Bound by an Angel

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 6, 2022 12:00 am

Some would have us believe that behind the curtain of world history there is an ongoing battle between God and the devil, and the devil is giving God a pretty good fight! But one look at Revelation 19 and that misconception is silenced forever.

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When we think about Jesus Christ, the thing that He seems to do most frequently is bring physical and spiritual life. He is in one word, life. Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus interrupted every funeral He attended?

He disturbed every grave site He visited. He was life in a word. Here, He is death in a word. Even though Jesus did bring us spiritual life and promises us eternal life with Him, there's another side. Jesus brings judgment and death to His enemies. And that begins with His main enemy, Satan. Not only is Satan not a match for God, he's not even a match for one of God's angels. In Revelation 19, Satan is bound by an angel. Bound by an angel is the title of Stephen's message today, here on Wisdom for the Heart. You ask the average person on the street about angels and what they think of them, and they'll tell you more than likely of some kind of experience, maybe a story they've heard, some sighting even, or some testimony of a spirit guide. According to one survey I read, 69% of the people interviewed believed in the existence of angels, and 49% believe they had some kind of personal connection with at least one angel. Protestant leaders are on the bandwagon.

You can go in the Christian bookstore and get a book on how to interpret your own sightings, dreams that they give you. They're binding demons, and they're praying around their neighborhoods for the binding of the devil and his influence. That sure is a lot easier, by the way, than witnessing to your neighbors. It's a lot more easy to sit in your living room and pray for Togo, West Africa than raise money and learn French and go. It's amazing how many Protestants are on this bandwagon.

I'm thinking it through. Catholics have long tied mysticism to angels, former monks like Borgia and Bernard of Clairvaux, encouraging people to be devoted to and pray to angels. The new catechism of the Catholic Church includes this instruction, and I quote, from infancy to death, human life is surrounded by angels, that is, their intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him in life. Well, if that's true, then David got it wrong in Psalm 23.

He should have written, an angel is my shepherd. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil because my angel is with me. Now, my purpose is not to offend some Catholics or to offend mainline Protestants.

My purpose is to offend everybody, actually. There are so many strange things out there, and whenever you get away from the Word of God, you are now, you're open seasoned to all kinds of mythologies and mysticism. It is true, there are a lot of things about angels and demons that we do not understand, but if we let the Bible stand as our guide and allow God to give us only what he wants to give us, and leave the rest for those days when we'll see this world with our eyes, we're going to come up with a very different view of angels than the classical world. Certainly, the paintings, if you've gone to an art gallery and you've looked at the paintings of angels, you've noticed that. They're very different in the Bible than what you see in that master's painting. Well, one thing, they are not fat little naked babies with halos and little wings carrying bows and arrows. Very different.

In fact, C.S. Lewis wrote it this way. He said, Fra Angelico's angel paintings carried the face and gesture of the peace and authority of heaven. But later came these chubby infantile angels of Raphael.

Finally, we had the soft, slim, girlish angels of the 19th century art. But in scripture, Lewis goes on to say, the appearance of an angel was always alarming. And the angel was so terrifying that he had to begin by saying, Fear not, Lewis said, the current angels of our day look as if they're about to say, They're there, all fluff and moraine. But as the Lord descends on his white stallion, we have studied and we the church with him on our own stage, you have this thundering, majestic descent that turns the armies into one united army against our Lord. You discover the presence and activity of angels. Now, in Revelation chapter 19, where we left off with verse 17, you could underline that opening phrase, Then I saw an angel.

And then again over in chapter 20, we'll cover a few verses there. Then I saw an angel. What are they like? Well, as you get into the description with me, they're not fluff and moraine. They're not little babies with halos. They are strong, determined warriors with the voice of God's holy authority and his righteous purpose. Now, before we dive into verse 17, let's keep in mind that the Battle of Armageddon is the primary setting here. Armageddon, Har Megiddon, Har meaning hill country, Megiddon, the name of a Canaanite fortress in the plain of Jezreel. That kind of allows us to understand the location of this hill country of Megiddo.

Robert Thomas has a good description of this in his commentary on Revelation, Moody Press, 1995. This was the valley where Israel conquered their enemies in Joshua 12 and Judges chapter 5. This is the scene of Josiah's defeat in 2 Chronicles 35. Zechariah mentioned this region in connection with the final battle of Armageddon, Zechariah chapter 12. Armies, it's interesting to learn, coming from the east to get to this region would have to cross the Euphrates River, a river we've already learned was dried up by the miraculous movement of God. This was a renowned Old Testament battleground, a region spanning or longer than some 200 miles. Nebuchadnezzar fought in this region as did Ramses in this region. Titus, the Roman general, fought here as did Pompeii and Richard the Lionhearted and Napoleon.

In fact, Napoleon wrote that this valley region, he said, is, and I quote, the world's greatest natural battlefield. And none of these former warriors ever saw a battle quite like this battle, the battle of Armageddon. For you see, God is drawing the world into battle.

They have been itching for a fight with him ever since the Tower of Babel. And now they have returned and the armies are once united with great fervor as they take on the descending Lord and his beloved. Now, before the very first shot is fired from the arsenal of the weapons of Earth's forces, before that first one is even fired at Christ and his brilliant company, the redeemed descending to Earth, an angel appears. Now go to verse 17. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun that is in the proximity high up, this sun, and he cried out with a loud voice saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, come, assemble for the great supper of God so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves and small and great. Every class, every descriptive class of mankind is in deep trouble.

All of human history is marching toward that great battle. And high up in the sky, all of a sudden, an angel appears with an invitation to birds. Come to the supper provided by God is the invitation. Where's the food? It's arriving from all around the world. This redefines international cuisine, the supper of God.

And what irony to me. We have two contrasting suppers in this text, several contrasts, two banquets. You have the marriage supper of the lamb and the great supper of God. Those who attend the wedding feast of the lamb, we as believers, will be at the supper. Those who march against Christ in Armageddon will be the supper.

Gruesome, isn't it? This is not material for another episode of Touched by an Angel, all fluffy and meringue. Ezekiel informs us that even after the birds gorge themselves on the flesh of these united against Christ, it will take nearly a year to bury the remains. And I want you to notice, though, the timing of this angel's invitation. He announces this invitation for the birds to gather before the battle really begins. In other words, the angel declares Jesus Christ's victory before the battle is even fought.

I love that. Before one missile is launched at the descending cavalry, before anything is fired, it's announced that it's over. Gather the birds for the defeated army.

Go ahead and march. Verse 19 says, I saw the beast that is the Antichrist and the kings of earth and their armies assembled to make war against him, who sat on the horse and against his army. I couldn't help but wonder as I studied this text, while they assembled, did they notice or will they notice that the sky is growing dark as the sun is shaded by millions of gathering, swarming, swooping, flapping, a flying cacophony of millions of birds who've come to the invitation of God through the angel to a great supper? Somewhere between verse 19 and verse 20 is the beginning and the end of the battle. It's really not much of a battle.

It's really a slaughter. We're told in verse 15 of the offensive weapon of the victorious army. It's the word of Christ, figuratively pictured as a sharp sword.

And that makes a lot of sense to us simply because the Bible is used with that metaphor in Scripture. Hebrews 4, 12, we're told it is even sharper than a two-edged sword. The believer is challenged to take up the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6, 17. So Jesus Christ rides from the skies and defeats this massive army with his word. Look over at verse 21, chapter 19.

And the rest were killed, that is all the army, with the sword which came from the mouth of him who sat on the horse. That is his word. One word of Christ and earth is defeated.

One word. The power in the spoken word by the living word is amazing. But we've already been given glimpses of this in the word of God. In Mark 4, 39, he stood in that ship. You remember the little boat was being tossed to and fro with the wind and the waves. And he stood and he said, Quiet! And immediately the sea was glass and the wind was gone. Quiet! Don't you wish you had that power in the van on the way to church?

Quiet! Jesus Christ bent over a paralyzed man who'd lived immobile at the mercy of his available friends. He walked over to him and he said, Get up!

That was all it took. And he got up and ran home. He stood outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus and said, When Lazarus come out and you had a resurrection. He went into the home where that little girl was laid out there on her deathbed.

All the friends had already been called. The family had already been gathered. There's great weeping and wailing at such a young life taken. And Jesus Christ walks into that little home and he leans over and he says, Rise! And she opens her eyes and takes a breath.

And she looks up into the face of the one who is the resurrection and the life. One word. He is in one word.

Life. You ever thought about the fact that Jesus interrupted every funeral he attended? He disturbed every grave site he visited.

He was life in a word. Here he is death in a word. Now you'll notice all the invading armies are killed except two men. Look at verse 20. And the beast, that is the antichrist, was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.

Only two prisoners are taken alive, so to speak. All the others are dead, which means that their spirits have already winged their way to Hades, that temporary place of torment where they await their final judgment, Luke 16, 23. But for these two, these two leaders, satanically empowered deceivers, God does something drastic. He publicly condemns them in the face of all the hosts of heaven.

And the church resurrected Old Testament saints and condemns them. Verse 20 says, they were thrown alive into the lake of fire. That phrase, lake of fire, is a reference to the final place of everlasting torment.

We're told later as we'll study it in detail. Hades will be emptied into the lake of fire. Hades is temporary, where all the spirits of the unbelieving are waiting. It is a place of torment, but they're waiting the final judgment.

But guess what? He bypasses for these two Hades, and he throws them into the lake of fire. They become a horrifying prelude to the eternal wrath of God by being thrown alive into the lake of fire. And there are a lot of points to make, and I'm going to reserve many of them for when we study this lake of fire.

But let me make one point now. Unbelievers who influence others in their unbelief will receive a greater penalty. Those who lead others into sin will bear a greater responsibility before God for their evil ways and be subjected to more severe punishment.

Yes, if you're wondering, yes, there are levels of suffering and punishment in hell. This passage delivers a stern warning, a frightening warning, to the world of unbelievers. That university professor who cherishes, who delights in condemning the scriptures, and causing unbelievers to be further bolstered and confident and confirmed in their unbelief, that one will one day receive a greater punishment for his influence. That greedy man or greedy woman who flaunts their wealth and causes all the rest of the unbelievers around them to live even more covetous lives will stand a greater judgment. That immoral man who flaunts his immorality, maybe he even publishes a magazine or two, and a philosophy that he espouses that seems to the unbeliever to make immorality a good thing and a right thing, that man will one day serve a more terrifying justice in his sentence against him because of it. See, it's one thing to be an unrepentant sinner.

It's another thing to applaud and endorse and define and defend and introduce and encourage others to sin. You see, ladies and gentlemen, what we're having here is we're having that movement toward those end-time events where the scales of God's justice are now beginning to be seen in all their fullest horror. Every believer has wondered, when will God act? When will he move?

How long, oh Lord? Now it's happening. Now it's happening as he unwraps, as it were, those scales and brings them out before the world to see. You don't want to be there in this scene.

If you've received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you're safe. In fact, you're in this scene with the victorious Beloved watching it unfold. So there's one more event that we're going to watch with our own eyes.

We'll read of it here. This is a wonderful event for those who belong to Jesus Christ. We have heard the angels' invitation. We've seen the antichrist and false prophets' condemnation.

I want you to notice the adversary's incarceration. Look at chapter 20, verse 1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and the great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him so that during this kingdom period, he would not deceive the nations any longer. What a thrill this is to read here. This is his day coming.

And we will one day watch this happen. And we're told that this angel, we're not given his name, but this angel has two things in his hands. First, he has the key to the abyss. Now, we've spent an entire session studying the abyss. It's a word that simply refers to the inability of mankind to fathom its depth.

The apostle John used words to describe the abyss as a deep cavern. And the owner of the key is ultimately sovereign God. And now we're told that the key has been given to an angel, an angel. He holds something else in his hand.

Look at the text. We're also told that he holds a great chain in his hand. Well, we're not talking about a galvanized steel chain. We're talking about some kind of God-designed chain for this old serpent.

It's going to bind him and hold him for a thousand years during the kingdom. Well, here's this angel. What a sight. What a sight. He comes and he binds Satan, throws him into the abyss, shuts the lid, seals it. And that's that for a thousand years.

The serpent is seized. And I love the fact that God does this by this angel. Not an archangel, not Gabriel or Michael, not one of the four angels that stand near his throne. We have every indication to believe this is just some ordinary angel. It's interesting to think about the fact that it's just one angel. But he is greater and more powerful than Satan as he accomplishes and carries out the will of God.

And so are you. Greater is he that is in you and he that is in the world. There's still time left on the clock in your life and mine, but the game's already decided.

The score is already fixed. Jesus Christ loses none of his and the enemy loses everything. Satan doesn't just lose, he is crushed.

We don't just win. With Christ we conquer. My wife came into my study and said, Honey, you got to read this and she loves to read Spurgeon's devotional works. And if you know Charles Spurgeon or of him, he was a wonderful pastor in the 1800s. Let me just close by reading a couple of paragraphs. And I love the way he describes the fact that we've already won. Paul writes in Ephesians 1 6, You are accepted in the Beloved.

What a state of privilege. This includes our justification before God, but that term accepted. Acceptance in the Greek language means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of divine delight. How marvelous that we mortals, sinners, worms should be the objects of divine love.

But it is only in the Beloved. Now some Christians, listen carefully to this, some Christians feel accepted by their own experiences. That is, when their spirit is lively and their hopes bright, they think God accepts them, for they feel so happy, so heavenly minded, so drawn above the earth. But when their souls collapse in failure in the dust, they are the victims of the fear that they are no longer accepted. If they could but see that all their high joys do not exalt them and all their despondencies do not diminish them in their Father's sight, they stand accepted in one who never alters, in one who is always perfect.

How much happier Christians would be and how much more they would honor the Savior. Rejoice then believer in this, you are accepted now in the Beloved. You look within and you say there is nothing acceptable here. But look at Christ and see if there is not everything acceptable there. Your sins trouble you. But God has already cast your sins behind his back and you are accepted in the righteous one. You have to fight with corruption and to wrestle with temptation, but you are already accepted in him who has overcome the powers of evil. The devil tempts you, but be of good cheer.

He cannot destroy you, for you are already accepted in him. Amen? Wow, that's great. Listen my friend, allow this scene in Revelation 19 and chapter 20 and the truth of your position in Christ by faith in him alone to motivate you and for me to be motivated to live and to think and to feel in light of our position in him, in light of our forgiveness in him, in light of our acceptance, in light of our victory. It really is settled.

You've won. According to the Word of God this is telling us our future. We already have. In Christ we are already sealed. In Christ we are already forgiven. In Christ we are already seated.

In Christ we are already unchangeably, eternally accepted in him. We can take comfort in that truth from God's Word today. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. You can learn more about us and access all of our resources if you visit our website which is wisdomonline.org. Once you go there you'll find an extensive library of Bible-based resources to help you grow in your faith and in your understanding of God's Word. If we can help you today, please give us a call. You can reach us at 866-48-BIBLE. Once again that's 866-48-BIBLE. Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you'll be with us next time as we continue through this series from Revelation here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-22 22:13:01 / 2023-04-22 22:22:13 / 9

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