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It Will be Worth it All! | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2024 12:00 am

It Will be Worth it All! | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 20, 2024 12:00 am

The Tribulation is known for being a time of great fear and destruction. Men and women will be forced to receive the mark of the beast and anyone who refuses will be killed. But out of that tribulation the Gospel will spread and people will accept the mark of the cross instead. The blood of the martrys has always been and always will be the seed of the Church.

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The blood of Christ stands for everything, his life and death and resurrection.

You could expand this text in your understanding to be this. These saints have washed their garments white because they washed them in the totality of Jesus Christ, both in the shedding of his blood as the sinless lamb of God, but also in the perfection of his deity and life as God the Son who lived and died and lives yet again and forevermore. So here they stand in their pure garments representing the life of Jesus Christ. The great tribulation that's coming one day will be a time of fear and destruction. Men and women will be forced to receive the mark of the beast, and anyone who refuses will be killed. Responding to the gospel in the midst of that kind of pressure would be difficult, but many will. During the tribulation, the gospel will spread. The blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation even during that time. Today, Stephen Davey brings to a close his series on the great tribulation called Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness.

This lesson is called It Will Be Worth It All. Revelation chapter 7, let's pick up where we left off with verse 9, where we read, after these things, I looked and behold a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes and palm branches were in their hands and they cry out with a loud voice saying, salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb. Now immediately upon reading this particular text, your mind is racing with several questions.

So let me ask and answer a few of them at the outset. First, where did this vast number of people come from? We'll look down at the middle of verse 14, where John is given a clear answer to that question. We read, these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, that term, the great tribulation was coined by Jesus Christ himself as he described that eschatological period of divine wrath in Matthew 24 verse 21. He used the phrase great tribulation to refer to the last half of what we know to be Daniel's prophetic 70th week. This is the final three and a half years of the tribulation period, the last half when disaster and persecution and devastation rises to unprecedented levels of horror and trouble. To identify these people by the way as the saved of all time or the saved church would be to ignore the definitive vocabulary of John's own words.

These particular ones who have come out of the definite article by the way, the authorized translation dropped it out. King James doesn't have it. Good thing to include the in the original language, the great tribulation. This is not just great tribulation, which the church has suffered over the centuries. This is the great tribulation an eschatological term for the last week of Daniel's prophetic vision. So here they come out of this period of time.

In fact, the original language uses the present tense with this part of symbols translated in your English Bible is verse 14. These are the ones who come out of, these are they literally you could translate it, who are presently continually at this moment in time coming out of the great tribulation. In other words, the early vision of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists we studied in our last session together who are preaching on earth, this is occurring simultaneously with that vision. Now believers either through their preaching or some other gospel avenue who believed, who died either in the devastations or as martyrs, they are now flooding, they're pouring into heaven. Imagine as John then is watching the number of those in heaven is actually growing.

Like people streaming through the gates of a football arena, a stadium, these people keep coming. Listen, ladies and gentlemen, to be absent from the body for the believers to be present with whom? The Lord, 2 Corinthians 5.8. There is no intermediate purgatory whereby you have your sins judged and paid for over time in the flames of torment before entering heaven. There is no soul sleep where you're sort of stuck in limbo waiting until a further summons. There's no waiting in the grave for this. The body waits as it were in the grave asleep but the spirit immediately goes to be with the Lord. And here we see them clothed in some intermediate body. Why? Because they're wearing a robe and they've got hands to hold palm branches.

Takes a body to do that. They have come from earth from this period of time known as the great tribulation. Second question. Well more specifically just who are these people? Well notice as John specifically identifies them back up in verse 9, the middle part, as coming from every nation. That word is ethnos. Refers to an ethnic body of people united by culture, common tradition. They're also from every tribe. This refers to the same family line. This could be translated clan that will be there.

These saints are also from, he goes on, from every peoples, all the races. The redeemed are also finally from every tongue, language. The word is glossa. It gives us our word glossary.

This is a word that refers to every group of people distinguished by a language which is an amazing implication. In fact John even implies surprise as he writes the opening line, verse 9, after these things, I looked and behold. I love that. I looked and wow, would you look at that? Behold has that nuance of perhaps even surprise. Would you look at this? Which leads me to another question.

Maybe he was wondering it too. Why are so many people saved during the tribulation? It's amazing to see so many people saved in our generation, isn't it? Especially in those countries that are suffering the persecution of believers, to know there are thousands literally every day just in China alone who are demonstrating faith and exercising it in Christ alone. Our media ministry, Wisdom for the Heart, I've learned not too long ago from our internet site that shows that now between 8 and 10,000 people download a sermon podcast every week and it's startling to me from 25, 30 different countries in a week's time.

I read through the list, Vietnam, Japan, the Arab Emirates states, Kazakhstan, France, the Philippines, and on and on and on. We don't know who they are by the way. They've just logged on, downloaded a free resource but we do have this sense that the gospel is going to places we never ever dreamed. Perhaps some of them are hearing the gospel and should the rapture occur, they will believe and be part of this company. Let me make several observations of these believers from this scene.

First, would you notice what they're wearing? Verse 9 informs us that they are wearing white robes. White robes stand for purity.

These people have been forgiven. Their scarlet stained lives have been washed white as wool, the prophet said. They're pictured now with white robes representing their purity. The Roman generals would wear white clothing as they rode back into the capital city of their empire following victory in some battle. This was the color of conquerors, not the soiled, mud caked clothing of armies who now lay defeated in the dirt. No, this is the color of the clothing of victories. And mark this ladies and gentlemen, the scene that we're given here, these people do not arrive in the presence of God weary, beaten, worn out, discouraged.

Oh no, they are victorious. They may have been cut down by an executioner. They here are actually the victor they have through Christ conquered death and now stand awaiting the final resurrection of the body with their spirit already rejoicing with God in this temporary body.

They are singing praise to God. Down in verse 14, John adds the detail. They have washed their robes making them white in the blood of the lamb. The idea of making something white by washing it in blood seems paradoxical to us, doesn't it?

In fact, even a little shocking. But not to those with an Old Testament background. To them such washing denoted spiritual purity through the sacrificial shedding of blood of an innocent lamb. Keep in mind as well that when we think of shedding blood we think immediately of death. The Jewish people immediately thought of life. The life is in the blood.

Genesis chapter 9 verse 4. So when the New Testament speaks about the blood of Jesus Christ it means not only his bloodletting on the cross and his death, it also refers to his life of perfection so that he could be the lamb perfected as the final paschal Passover lamb. The blood of Christ stands for everything. His life and death and resurrection.

You could expand this text in your understanding to be this. These saints have washed their garments white. That is they've become pure and victorious because they've washed them in the totality of Jesus Christ, both in the shedding of his blood as the sinless lamb of God, but also in the perfection of his deity and life as God the son who lived and died and lives yet again and forevermore. So here they stand in their pure garments representing the life of Jesus Christ, his bloodshed, his death and resurrection. And they in him are victorious over death and sin and Satan.

Observation number two, would you notice not only what they're wearing but what they're holding. At the end of verse nine we're told they're holding palm branches in their hands. They're waving palm branches before the throne of God. You remember this is what happened when Jesus Christ rode on that immediately tamed unbroken colt. He rode into the city of Jerusalem as the people took palm branches and went out and waved them at Christ as he entered the city and that created an incredible stir.

Why? Because waving palm branches before someone was an activity reserved for royalty. You only did this for kings in that culture. So the Jewish people in Jerusalem that they were recognizing the one they believed would establish his messianic kingdom and his right to rule over them, they were declaring to everyone their king had come. That's why they shouted by the way in John's Gospel chapter 12 verse 13, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord even the king of Israel. Here comes the king is what they were saying.

Of course they would later reject him and he according to divine plan would suffer as the Passover lamb. But now here we have again the appearance of palm branches and they're being waved. This time untold millions are waving palm branches before the throne of God the father and his son the lamb. Observation number three, notice what they're saying verse 10 and they cry out with a loud voice saying, salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb.

This is all about him. First they praise him for his great salvation. Salvation belongs to our God. It's his doing. It's his offering for by grace you have been saved through faith not of yourselves it is the what? Gift of God not of works anything you do.

So I'd simply receive his work. Do you hear anyone boasting of their deeds in this scene? Let me tell you about my baptism. Let me tell you how long I've been going to Sunday school.

Let me tell you where I was a member of this or that church. No, not here. Do you see anybody before this throne admiring their own effort and their own hand and their own works to get in?

Not a chance. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? Hebrews 2 verse 3. This salvation of God is what they praise because it is all of God. He is the only way in. He is the only way out.

He is the only way up. God alone created the plan of salvation. God alone offers the gift of salvation. God alone receives the praise for his great salvation.

Don't wonder this is their theme. They praise him for his great salvation. They secondly praise him for his global sovereignty.

Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne. It would be easy to doubt he was sovereign then. Maybe as they died horrific deaths. But they clung to their faith. There's no doubting it now.

There's no debating it here. God alone sits upon the throne of the heavens and he alone rules the universe as sovereign. Third, they not only praise him for his great salvation and glorious sovereignty but for his gracious sacrifice. Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and unto whom?

The lamb. And there he stands. Pictured as in chapter 5 bearing in his glorified body the wounds of crucifixion. Demonstrated in his glorified body the Thomas and the others showing him the nail prints and hands and feet and spear wound in his side. He retained those to be forever a demonstration of his great gracious sacrifice.

Perhaps even cuts on his forehead from the makeshift crown of thorns whereby the human race mocked his claim to divine royalty. And here he stands and millions upon millions of the redeemed shout over and over again, salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and to the lamb. Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne and to our lamb.

It's such a moving sight. It is filled with such wonder that the angels are just sort of swept up in it and they fall down before the throne. Look at verse 11. And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne of God and worshiped him. They just sort of get swept up and they're saying, Amen.

These angels are Baptist angels evidently. This is the only doxology in the Bible by the way that both begins and ends with the word Amen. Amen means simply it is the truth.

We got to tell you it's the truth. What they just said about their salvation is the truth. And then they add the seven fold statement as they sort of read from the resume of the character of God. They chant, he is worthy of blessing, eulogia. We get our word eulogy from this. It means to speak well of someone. Now we usually reserve a eulogy for someone after they've died.

Oftentimes eulogies are nothing more than carefully worded fibs, but not this eulogy. The well speaking offered to the living God, he is worthy of whatever you can think of saying good about him. He's worthy of it. He's worthy of doxo.

This gives us our word doxology. It's a reference to the glory derived from a good reputation. He's worthy third of all sophia, wisdom which is embodied in our God. He's worthy of eucharistia. It gives us our word eucharist.

Gratitude and thanksgiving. He's worthy of it all. He's worthy of teme, the word is. Great esteem. He's worthy of dunamis.

It gives us our word dynamic or dynamite. It's a reference to power to act independently of anyone but his triune counsel. He can do whatever he wants to do and whatever he does is right. I'm glad that he is not powerless, but he is all powerful and he will always do what is right and he will one day make all things new. He is worthy number seven of iskus, that is strength throughout history. It's part of his divine resume of attributes.

His will is accomplished by his divine omnipotence. And for how long from what they say is God worthy of this? For a month? A year? Or even a century? No, John writes forever and ever. Forever and ever he is worthy. It's the truth.

Amen. Now at this point an interesting conversation has begun between John and a believer. An elder who I've explained earlier I believe represents the church raptured to heaven prior to this tribulation. This elder is emphasizing to John the importance of recognizing who these white robes saints are. He asks John, look at verse 13, who are they and where have they come from? And John, he says, verse 14, I said to him, my Lord, you know.

In other words, I don't know who they are. But he says, my Lord, he is not a scribing deity, this man, simply a polite way of addressing someone. It's the word sir. It's the way of polite addressing to someone and people from the south understand it.

We understand this language. We say yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am, right? People from the north, they say yep, yep, nope, yep, yep.

What are you, driving horses? Yep, yep. How many of you are from the north? I speak to an audience of transplanted northerners. How many of you are glad you're here in the south? Are you glad you're here? Yep, yep, yep, yep.

The things I suffer. Sir, with great respect, you know the answer. The elder knew the answer. But this was his way of opening the conversation up to clarify for John and us that these were not members of the church.

John would have known that. Already raptured, these are believers who've been saved and now died sometime during the tribulation and they are now enjoying the presence of God. There are joys of heaven seen here in these remaining verses of this chapter and I'll put them in a two-fold outline. Number one, they are sheltered by their sovereign. This is one of the joys of heaven, verse 15. And he, for this reason they're before the throne of God and they serve him day and night in his temple and he who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them. They are safe, forever secure.

They were before but they feel it now. Sheltered by the sovereign. Secondly, they are satisfied by their shepherd. Verse 16, they will hunger no longer nor thirst anymore nor will the sun be down on them nor any heat. This verse many believe is a reference to the fourth bowl which is going to be poured out which is excruciating heat and the sunlight which is magnified, perhaps a reference to those who believe and are persecuted by being thrown out into the sun without water to drink.

We don't know. We do know this, there's no longer any deprivation. There's no longer any suffering. And verse 17 says, why? For the lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. This is the prayer of David, isn't it? We've often uttered it, the Lord is my shepherd I shall not what?

I shall not want. That means because the Lord is my shepherd I have everything I need. For those who do not have him as their shepherd they're always wanting. He makes me lie down in green pastures, literally makes it possible for me to lie down in green pastures. A sheep will not lie down unless they're free of fear, free from hunger. He makes it possible for me to rest.

Why? He feeds me all that I need and I have no fear. A great psalm of course ends by saying surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This was his prayer and this is their experience.

Listen dear friend, if you want him to be your shepherd over there you must have him as your shepherd over here. For those who follow the shepherd on earth they will one day be shepherded by him in eternity. John's vision ends in verse 17 with the promise that God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Tears are God created and the ability to do so is God created, not necessarily the result of the fall or a sinful human nature. It is a God created avenue for an emotional response and I believe heaven will be a place of great emotion. Joyful tears by believers perhaps moved to the side of the lamb thrilled with wonder that we are at his throne.

We will shed I believe tears of gratitude through purified, perfected, glorified, God pleasing joyful emotion. I believe that's part of heaven. You know it occurred to me here as I read this and study this that if millions of people in this scene in heaven have palm branches imagine how many millions of palm trees there will be in heaven to supply them. In fact it just might be the signature tree in the capital city.

Now I'm out on a limb here no pun intended okay but it just might be. It's interesting you study the history of Israel and you discover the date palm was the symbol of this nation's prosperity. Coins were minted with the palm and the vine. In fact when Titus the Roman general destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70 he minted in his mockery a medal showing a Jewish a man sitting under a palm tree indicating he was now the slave of Rome. I wonder I can't be sure but I just wonder if this is one more interesting twist as the royalty of Christ will be seen reigning in Jerusalem and the prosperity of ethnic returned, revived Israel so to speak is symbolized here resting no longer as slaves of anybody but slaves of God. What we do know is that they're waving millions upon millions of palm branches and I do know this there's no need to fear death there's no need to spend a fortune trying to hold back the inevitable. Yes take care of yourself as best you can so that you can make a contribution to your Lord and family and your spiritual family until he takes you home.

But clear up your perspective we stay too riveted on earth. Look here at the revelation of Jesus Christ and millions in heaven which in this scene is a scene of believers exploding with joy. Stephen Davey has been working his way through a series on the great tribulation called Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness. If you had to miss any of the lessons along the way we have them available for you. We've posted this series to our website which you'll find at wisdomonline.org. When you go to that website you'll be able to listen to the complete audio of each lesson as well as read Stephen's printed manuscript.

You can do both of those things on our smartphone app as well. In addition we've also taken this series and put it together as a set of CDs. If you'd like to order the CD set for this series entitled Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness that's available on our website or you can call us and we can help you over the phone. The website is wisdomonline.org. Our phone number is 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. Call today. On our next broadcast Stephen begins a series from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. Make plans to join us for that right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 00:19:12 / 2024-05-20 00:28:33 / 9

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