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Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7
Our text tells of the gospel reaching all the earth in a short period of time. What the church has failed to do for 2,000 years will be accomplished quickly during the tribulation.
Signs of the times are everywhere. Don’t allow your mind to become dull to that fact, just because you’ve heard preaching like that for years. The rapture could occur at any moment, ushering out all who’ve been born again, and ushering in the Great Tribulation.
Wed. nite we began dealing with this question: “Will anyone be saved during the tribulation?” The clear answer: Yes! But not you!!
The first half of the tribulation will be bad enough once all the Christians are removed from the earth along w/ the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Add to that they hysteria over millions missing, the war, famine, disease, and natural disasters we spoke of last week, and the chaos, looting, lawlessness, etc.
But there will then be a lull before the big storm, which is the 2nd half of this 7 year period. The antichrist will seemingly succeed at bringing peace to the world...even to the Middle East. But it won’t last long. The perfect storm of the ages is already brewing on the horizon.
Revelation 7 can help us fill in some of the blanks about what Mt. 24:14 is saying.
1. The Symbolism of Revelation 7.
v. 1 four corners / four winds = symbolism
Corner = wings. This is a reference to the compass, the 4 quadrants of the earth; the angel here is keeping the wind from blowing in any direction.
But, is this a literal wind, or a symbolic wind?
Do I interpret prophecy symbolically or literally? Yes! Both.
Symbolism: find out what the symbol means, then believe it literally!
I believe this wind is a symbolic wind.
The Learning Channel, recently did a full documentary on wind…did you see that? They showed the importance of wind to our eco-system…and revealed the fact that life on this planet is dependant upon the wind, and that we could not survive w/out it…in a matter of days, those of us on land would die.
Many times throughout the old and new testaments, wind is used symbolically for judgment.
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:
15 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all …
In Rev. 7:1, these 4 angels are holding back the winds of judgment…momentarily, because God wants to do something very important. We are in the tribulation, but the trials of the tribulation stop, if only for a moment.
Let’s move from the Symbolism of ch. 7 to...
2. The Sealed of Revelation 7.
Then vv. 5-8 names all those witnesses sealed. A 5th angel! More powerful than the first 4…he’s giving them orders. To seal in the foreheads 144k witnesses, 12,000 from each tribe:
[By the way, the tribe of Dan is missing…Jacob’s blessing upon Dan was negative…the tribe of Levi was plugged into his place…perhaps the False Prophet will come from the tribe of Dan?]
Anyway, God has never been w/out witnesses, in any age. There has always been a faithful remnant.
Even in Elijah’s day, when the prophet thought he was the only one left, God reminded him that he had 7,000 others that had not bowed the knee to Ba’al.
This will be true in the tribulation: God will have His spokesmen here on earth. It won’t be me, or you, if you’ve been saved. For at the rapture, a great spiritual vacuum will be created, and that spiritual vacuum is quickly filled by 144,000 Jewish evangelists / soul winners…12k from each of the 12 tribes.
Of course, there have been and are fanatical groups today that claim to be the 144,000…an absurd thought, quite ridiculous! JW’s revised their theology when their number finally exceeded 144k! And, they’re not Jewish.
Many Bible scholars speculate about how these people get saved after the rapture, during the tribulation. I have an answer for you…are you ready?…I don’t know! Nobody knows! We cannot have an answer for everything.
(another example, at Armageddon the blood will flow 200 miles like a river as deep as horse bridles, I don’t understand how a war could be so horrendous, but I believe!
J. Vernon McGee: “some think they know what blood type it will be!”)
Some think it will be thru gospel literature left behind (Left Behind, the series…produced for the purpose of Christians leaving it to their loved ones)
Others speculate they will be saved the way the apostle Paul was, thru a personal appearance of Jesus Christ.
I tend to think they will put 2 and 2 together when the Christians depart, and will study the Bible for the first time, believe, and will be converted!
Really, we don’t know how it will happen…but one thing we do know, they will be saved, and it will be like 144,000 Billy Grahams turned loose all at once, and their effect will be overwhelming…they will be able to evangelize the world in a short period of time. Truly, the church should be able to today, but we’re far too comfortable.
v. 3 “Sealed in foreheads.” Whether this seal is visible or not--we don’t know. But we do know that it guarantees them God’s protection until His purpose in their life is fulfilled.
Satan will hate them / antichrist will loathe them…and they would annihilate them in short order if they could, but once they are sealed / stamped “private property of God Almighty”, they are guaranteed protection by God, until He’s done w/ them!
I’m happy to report that if you’ve been born again, you enjoy that same protection. You’ve been sealed, Eph. 1:13, w/ the Holy Spirit, until the day of redemption, Eph. 4:30…that seal stamps you as private property of God!
I can look back over the years and see times when Satan made a bid for my life! And if it were not for God’s protective hand, I would not be here today. How about you?
Ill.—motorcycle…topped out at 145, high speed wobble, somehow corrected! / another time heading up a steep canyon…got into gravel on shoulder…closed eyes, braced for impact! Suddenly I was upright on the road, and it was like God said to me, “Don’t ever do that again!”
I had some near death experiences as a teen when I ran away. My guardian angel should receive hazard pay!
Bro. Jones falling thru ice…how did you get out? “I don’t know!”
I’m not saying we’re invincible, not at all, I may die during this message, but if I do, one thing is certain: God’s purposes were totally and completely fulfilled in my life. I am protected by God from start to finish, whenever that may be!
The seal guarantees the 144k protection, even during the tribulation.
Symbolism of ch. 7 / Sealed of ch. 7…
3. The Saved of Revelation 7.
v. 13-15 “Thou knowest” = “search me!”
This group is not just Jews…this is a massive group from all peoples / kindreds / tongues. Though we’re not told specifically who these are, most scholars agree that these are the fruits of the witnessing and soul winning done by the 144k…and they are in heaven in this scene, during the tribulation because they were killed for their faith in Christ…refused to worship the beast, and bow to the antichrist…they wouldn’t take the mark of the beast, and it cost them their heads!
Let’s be clear about something right now. No one in this room today will be saved during the tribulation (explain) The Bible teaches that when you reject the truth, you receive a lie. Truth is not something you can put into your pocket and save…you either use it or lose it!
II Thess. 2
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
It’s like they say, “God, I don’t want to go your way, I want to go my way” and God says, ok, I’ll give you a shove!
Some say: I’m gonna see if it all comes to pass, and if it’s true, then I’ll get saved. Of you won’t get saved now then you wouldn’t then.
Age of Grace…everything is working for you
Tribulation…so much is working against you
This is not a 2nd chance for those who already rejected the gospel, but a last and only chance for those who’ve never heard.
Symbolism / Sealed / Saved…
4. The Scene in Heaven.
While a storm is brewing below, there’s ‘amen’ing and whooping and hollering at the incredible mercy of God that saves this multitude out of the tribulation.
And there’s nothing wrong w/ getting excited about the Lord. Sometimes around here I wonder if people think Amen’s are billed at $50 each! They aren’t, they’re free, and it’s like sayin’ sic ‘em to a dog so help me out!
You say, “I think church should be dignified”
I do too, if you’re talking about things being done decently and in order, especially in how we conduct our business, but this isn’t about business, it’s about praise! Some people don’t know the difference between dignity and rigor mortis!
These are the martyrs who’ve been beheaded by guillotine, killed for their faith during the tribulation. But those tears won’t last long!
Some of the tenderest memories of childhood are having my tears dried by mom or dad. We have the same experience w/ our kids now. They’re at that age where they act so pitiful if they’re spanked, or something doesn’t go their way, and their crocodile tears sometimes take them places w/ us…because it breaks our hearts to see them cry!
We’ve got one who really needs it lately, and oh how she cries, like we we’re selling her into slavery! I told Kimberly, she’s thinking, “Hey, I thought we had a deal: I be cute, and you don’t spank me!”
Don’t you look forward to the day you can sit on the knee of the heavenly Father, as He wipes away the tears of every injustice you’ve ever suffered…they will be made right / problem…gone / question…explained / every tear wiped away. God doesn’t delegate this job to the angels, oh no, God Himself shall wipe away all tears from our eyes, personally!
I look forward to that day, you? Will you be there? Will you be here? There’s a storm warning...it’s brewing on the horizon. See the signs of the times and get saved or get right as needed. Then let’s get busy working, and watching for the return of our Lord!
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