Morning Bible Study
Christmas Service schedule.
John found himself caught up into heaven where he found himself before the
throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little
further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the
Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
We have seen Jesus break six of the seven seals, and now a few things will
happen before the seventh seal is opened.
Last week we
saw the special group of 144,000 Jewish Evangelists receive their calling and protection
during the time of the Tribulation.
7:9-17 The Great Multitude
:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one
could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in
:10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to
our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
:9 a great
While the 144,000 were specifically identified as only belonging to the
tribes of Israel, this group is from the whole world, including Israel.
People from every nation, people group, and language are represented.
We mentioned last week that Jesus said,
(Mt 24:14 NKJV) And this gospel of the kingdom
will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the
end will come.
We believe this may be a reference
to the mission of the 144,000, and now we are seeing the fruit of their
:9 palm branches
I find it interesting to note that there is vegetation in heaven.
Why the palm branches?
are one of the ancient symbols of Israel. (Hasmonean coins)
The Palm Tree
was also a symbol of victory
The Jews had a
saying: “If a man takes palm tree branches in his hands, we know that he is
Victory in death
people in life who would say this young man made his team “lose” because he
chose to be honest. They may have
experienced a “death”, but the truth is, there was a great victory here.
This multitude before the throne are dead.
Like the early
Christians, they died for their faith.
For most people living on the earth at that time, they will see this as a
great defeat for “those Christians”.
But in heaven, there’s a different perspective.
They aren’t defeated, they’ve just finished their race and
They haven’t lost, they’ve gained heaven.
15:54–55 NKJV) —54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal
has put on immortality, then
shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up
in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades,
where is your victory?”
Death has no victory because when we die, we go to heaven.
How do you
measure success by how far they go in their job.
measure success by how famous they become.
God’s idea of
success is to get you to heaven.
And for these people, they have arrived. In heaven.
:11 All the angels
stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell
on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
:12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor
and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
:11 and worshiped
Ray Comfort has an excellent
new video out called “180” (free to watch on YouTube) where he talks to people
on the street about various issues, and eventually dealing with the issue of
abortion. He starts off asking them
about Adolf Hitler and whether they know who he was. Then he describes a time where thousands of Jews were shot and
buried in mass graves, even though some were still alive when they were buried
in the pits.
Ethical Dilemna” clip.
You can see
these young men and women wrestle with this ethical dilemma. Would you drive that bulldozer and bury
people alive? Or would you be willing to
die for what is right?
in the Tribulation will be faced with a similar question – will you deny Jesus
Christ in order to keep your life? Would
you be willing to keep openly trusting in Jesus Christ, even if it means that
(69-155), was one of the disciples of the apostle John. He was put on trial because of his faith in
Christ. When the Roman governor told him
to deny his faith, Polycarp answered, “For 86 years I have served Him, and He has never
wronged me. How can I blaspheme my King,
who has saved me?”
Why is all of
heaven worshipping God at this point?
Because all these newly arrived believers have passed their test.
chose Jesus over living, and now they are safe in heaven.
All heaven responds not in applause for these martyrs, but for the God who
has safely brought them home.
For us, the “choice” isn’t yet about whether we’re ready to die for Jesus, the issue for us is, will
we live for Jesus?
Are we willing to do whatever it takes to live for Him, even if it means we
lose our lives, we lose our job, we lose our reputation?
The real goal of life isn’t building your reputation, it’s
arriving in heaven.
:13 Then one of
the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and
where did they come from?”
:13 one of the
One of the twenty-four elders wants to know if John recognizes these
There may be a pop quiz when we get to heaven!!!
Of course if you don’t know the answer,
you can always respond like John does…
:14 And I said
to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of
the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb.
:14 who come out of
the great tribulation
These people from every nation have died for their faith. They have come out of this coming seven year period
we call the “Tribulation” which started back in Rev. 6.
Some of you might say, “I thought you said that it would be hard for a
person to be become a believer during the Tribulation. How could there be a great multitude of
people here who have believed during the Tribulation?
You’d say this because I told you about 2Thessalonians:
(2 Th 2:9–12 NKJV) —9 The coming of the lawless
one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying
wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,
that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them
strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may
be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The ones who will have a hard time believing, and who will
be deceived by the antichrist are those who “did not receive the love of the
In other words, Paul is describing people who have heard
the truth and rejected.
you are a person who has heard the truth about Jesus Christ NOW, and
reject Jesus Christ, then you are a person who is likely to be deceived in the
I think there’s a possibility that there will be a lot of people in the Tribulation who have
never heard of Jesus Christ. They’ve
never had the chance to reject the truth because they have yet to hear the
When the events
of the Tribulation begin to take place, and the 144,000 start preaching the
gospel, a great number will come to Christ and be martyred.
:14 washed their
When we get to
heaven, we will be clothed with the deeds we’ve done in this life.
(Re 19:8 NKJV) And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and
bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
But without Jesus,
we have a problem. The best clothing we
can come up with are just “filthy rags”.
NKJV) But we are
all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like
Jesus described heaven as a wedding feast, where guests
are invited, and it is important to wear the proper attire:
22:11–12 NKJV) —11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who
did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a
wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
The party crasher was thrown out because he
wasn’t dressed properly.
important lesson for us is to be
sure to get our “clothes” cleaned with God’s washing machine.
We come to Jesus and admit our
sins. We ask Jesus to forgive us. And our “clothes” become “washed” with the
blood of the Lamb.
NKJV) “Come now,
and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they
are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Are you ready?
On a long trip, it’s important to pack the right clothes for your
In the summer
of 2010, our trip to Russia was incredibly hot.
We landed in 100 degree weather.
Shorts and light t-shirts were the clothes for the day.
When I visited back in March, it was quite different.
You have to pack for your destination.
Have you packed
the right clothes for heaven?
Are you trusting in your own good deeds to make it into heaven? Those are some pretty stinky clothes to be
Or have you allowed Jesus to forgive you and wash you?
: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 dwell among them.
– latreuo – to render religious
service or homage, to worship
This isn’t the word that describes lowly, menial, slave-like work (douleo), but “serve” in the sense that
the priests served God
in the Temple by offering sacrifices, incense, praying, praising, etc.
These people won’t be serving in the Temple in Jerusalem, they will be
serving in the Temple in heaven.
And the Word became
flesh and dwelt among us, and
we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth.
:16 They shall
neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor
:16 hunger … thirst
Some have suggested that these are some of the things that these martyrs
will have endured on the earth.
We know that
during the Tribulation, the antichrist will require that everyone worship him
and receive a “mark” showing that they worship him…
(Re 13:17 NKJV) and that
no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or
the number of his name.
If you are a believer in the Tribulation, you will have trouble buying food at
the grocery store. You might have trouble buying or renting
a house or apartment. That means hunger,
thirst, and a bit of sun.
:17 for the Lamb
who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living
fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
However, when He, the
Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide
you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but
whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not
want. He makes me to lie
down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
:17 will wipe away
I get it
One of the
hardest things to deal with in life is the question “Why”.
We will all go through hardship of one form or another.
Inevitably we ask ourselves, “why”.
When God wipes away our tears, I don’t think it means that He will remove
the memory of those hard times.
The Bible says
that in heaven, we will have full knowledge.
(1 Co 13:12 NKJV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I
know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Beloved, now we are
children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know
that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
In heaven you
will retain your identity.
You will be “you”. You don’t become absorbed
into the great cosmic “borg” and become a faceless drone that serves the
Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus,
they were still Moses and Elijah. They
were recognizable. They were themselves.
think that this means that you will retain the memories of your life and
how you lived.
So if we still remember everything, what does it mean for God to “wipe away
I think it means
that He will answer the “why”.
We’ll “get it”. We’ll understand why
things happened the way they did.
We too will be able to proclaim with all heaven that God is “all powerful”,
that He is “wise”, that God is “good”, that God is “just”, and that He “loves”
Can I tell you the “why” on this side of heaven? Probably not.
For now we live by “faith”, we learn to trust in the
When we get to heaven, we will “get it”. We will no longer need to live by “faith”,
because we will understand.