This sermon is from the series UNDERSTANDING REVELATION and was preached at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cherry Log, Georgia on Sunday, August 3, 2014 by Pastor Paul Mims. You can hear this sermon at www.csbccl.org
Revelation 14:6-13In Billy Graham’s book ANGELS, he tells this account of angels protecting John Paton and his wife who were missionaries to the New Hebrides Islands. “Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Paton’s out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see that, unaccountably, the attackers had left.
A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard – hundreds of men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent his angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation.”
In our study of Revelation we have read many times of the activity of the angels. John, in his fifteen visions, sees them frequently. He says that they were numbered “ten thousand x ten thousand.” Angels are mentioned 196 times in the Bible – 103 times in the Old Testament and 93 times in the New Testament. They are mentioned in 34 of the 66 books of the Bible.
The Hebrew word for angel is “mal’ach”, and the Greek word is “angelos.” Both of these words mean “messenger” and defines their major role other than worshipping God around his throne. Jesus spoke of “the angels in heaven” indicating that heaven is the place from which they travel to come to the earth. Angels were very active in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. They continue to be active in our day for some in this congregation have had angel encounters.
The approach that we are taking to interpret Revelation is that chapters 4-19 describe the Tribulation period. God’s judgment began back in chapter 8 when the seventh seal of the scroll was broken. When the seventh Trumpet sounds in chapter 11, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of Christ in victory for believers. Chapters 12-14 describe the events during the last three and one half years of the Tribulation period. The angels are especially active during this time of the evil trinity – Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Chapter 15 describes the pouring out of God’s wrath in the Bowl Judgments which we considered with the Seven Trumpets. Chapters 17 & 18 describe the end result of what we are studying today with the angel announcements. The angels deliver three urgent messages to the world.
I. TIME IS RUNNING OUT (vv.6-7)
“And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people: and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
We often hear that the gospel must be preached in all the world and that every tribe and nation must have opportunity to turn to Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 24:15: “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
We are trying to get the gospel to every person on the earth through our missions program. Beginning in 2011, a challenge was issued by pastors and church leaders across our convention for individual churches to “embrace” an unengaged, unreached people group. These are people groups with little or no access to the Gospel and in which there is no identified effort taking place—and no missionaries working among them—to evangelize, disciple and plant churches.
In addition to those who God has called to serve overseas through traditional channels of missionary service, IMB recognizes that God is strategically placing Southern Baptist marketplace professionals in vocational roles around the globe. Through Marketplace Advance initiatives, IMB seeks to assist, equip and nurture these marketplace professionals and the churches of which they are members in their strategic role in engaging the nations.
There are hundreds of other mission boards from all church types that are trying to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord. We will work until Jesus comes and that which is left undone the angels will do. The message of the heavenly being is given with a last chance urgency. The angel preacher proclaims to every person on the earth that they have one last opportunity to believe. Look at the angel’s sermon.
FEAR GOD. This means to reverence God and acknowledge Him as your creator.
GIVE HIM GLORY. This means to see God for who He is and praise Him for what He has done in the past, and what He is doing in the present in giving you an opportunity to believe before the judgment begins.
WORSHIP HIM WHO MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. Turn from your idols and bow down to Him who offers you mercy and grace.
George W. Truett grew up here in these North Georgia Mountains. His ambition was to be a lawyer. But the people in his church recognized that God was calling him to preach. He served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas,Texas for about fifty years. Our Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia is named for him. Dr. McConnel was the first pastor of Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta where I served. He and Dr. Truett were cousins. This is the story of his conversion in his own words: “May I take a little leaf out of my own poor life? When I was a young fellow, seeking Jesus, the way was all dark to me. I could not understand how to be saved. Oh, if somebody had sat down beside me when I was a lad, and told me the simple way to be saved, I think I would have walked in it! I remember one day I was alone, and for hours and hours this was my prayer: `Lord, deepen my feeling. Lord, make my eyes to be fountains of tears. Lord, fill me with remorse and misery and condemnation!” I prayed like that, supposing that if I reached a certain point of awful, deplorable remorse and regret and wretchedness of spirit, surely Jesus would then take pity on me. Why, that was not the way for me to come to Jesus. The way for me to come to Jesus was to come to Him, and say: “Lord Jesus, here I am, a sinner, and I cannot save myself. You have taught it, and surely You know. I have found out in myself and by myself how weak and frail I am, how insufficient I am to save myself. Lord Jesus, You do the saving, You said it, and You said: ‘Come to me without delay, and I will come to you, and I will save you.’ Lord, I turn from every evil way, and I give up to Jesus, that He may save me His way, and I give up right now. Dark or bright, no matter what comes, I will give up to Jesus.” Oh, if I had come like that, when an interested boy, I would have found Christ, as I did find Him when my feet were turning into young manhood’s morning. I did find him, when quietly one night, sitting in an audience like this, an earnest preacher pleaded that Christ must be given His own way to save the soul; that the soul, needy and helpless and unable to save itself, would make honest surrender to Christ —utter surrender. I sat back there as you sit back there before me now, and I said, “Lord, it is all as dark as it can be. I do not see through it. I am drifting with the current. Lord, save me!”
That has been the similar experience of many who have come to Christ. Can you imagine what it will be like when the angel preaches the last message to the whole world?
John sees a second angel proclaiming an urgent message.
II. EVIL WILL BE DESTROYED IN A DAY (v.8)
“And another angel, a second one, followed saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.’”
What is Babylon? It has a two-fold meaning in the scriptures. First, Babylon is a literal city located in Iraq 53 miles from Bagdad between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon again became the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 608 to 539 BC which was founded by Chaldeans from the south east corner of Mesopotamia, and whose last king was an Assyrian from Northern Mesopotamia. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied the fall of Babylon. Isaiah in 21:9 said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon, and all the images of her gods he shattered to the ground.” Jeremiah in 51:8 said, “Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken.” Babylon became a synonym for a corrupt world empire and it was used to describe Rome in the first century. It could be applied to several world capitals today and that is the second meaning.
Babylon is a religious and political system abroad in the world that is opposed to God. John sees it under the control of the antichrist whose desire is to rule the world. The second angel announces that this system that we see in the world that is against God will come crushing down. Babylon is called the great harlot in 17:1-2; “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” And in 18:21, “Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” This means that all of the ungodliness that we see in our world will be brought to naught. All of the unbelief and opposition to the Lord will be judged for what it is.
III. TWO WAYS TO DIE (v.12)
“Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
The third angel said, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is mixed in full strength in the cup of his anger.” (vv.9-10)
The third angel spoke in a loud voice and told of the doom of the worshippers of the antichrist and then the challenge was made to believers to be faithful to the end. In the midst of any kind of opposition Christians can be faithful. We have seen the darkest times described here in the Revelation and we have seen the glorious times put forth for us as believers.
Look at what follows the preaching of the third angel in 14:13; “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.’”
Every person will die in either one of two ways. You will approach death with the heavy load of your sins or you will pass through the portal with your sins forgiven. You will die in your sins or you will die in the Lord.
Chris Tomlin wrote these words to Jesus as a love song of redemption:
“I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honor you
Amazing love how can it be?
That my king would die for me
Amazing love I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honor you
In all I do
I honor you
I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, you were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again.”
PRAISE BE TO HIS NAME!