HEAVEN’S INCREASE

Rev. 4:9-11 – Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Have you ever wrapped your head around eternity. I remember my first glimpse of it came when I was a little child. My mom was reading a story to me about Abraham and how he counted the stars. The book had a picture of Abraham outside looking up at the infinite number of stars. In that moment I remembering asking my mom about eternity, specifically eternity past. “Where did God come from?” I asked. I don’t remember my mom’s answer but what can you say? He has always been and will always be.

Have you ever wondered about eternal heaven and what that will be like? Jonathan Edwards says that it will be a place of ever increasing and ever intensifying joy. The longer we are there the greater the happiness will be because we will be living in a state of the constant unveiling of the magnificence of God. Her is how John Piper describes it.

“Heaven will be a never-ending, ever-increasing discovery of more and more of God’s glory with greater and ever-greater joy in him. If God’s glory and our joy in him are one, and yet we are not infinite as he is, then our union with him in the all-satisfying experience of his glory can never be complete, but must be increasing with intimacy and intensity forever and ever. The perfection of heaven is not static. Nor do we see at once all there is to see—for that would be a limit on God’s glorious self-revelation, and therefore, his love. Yet we do not become God. Therefore, there will always be more, and the end of increased pleasure in God will never come.”

There will always be more. Unthinkable!!! It will be impossible to be bored and want to move on to what’s next. His glory that we glimpse in His creation will be unveiled right in front of us. We taste just the edge of it now, eternity will be greater than we can imagine.

THE GLORIOUS BRIDE

Rev. 21:9-11 – Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

The end of the Bible seen in the closing chapters of Revelation helps us begin to glimpse God’s ultimate and glorious plan. The scriptures teach us that all of God’s creation primarily exists to display the glory of God. From the minute intricacies of the microscopic world to the grandeur and majesty seen in His universe, everything pulsates with the glory of God. The Lord saves His greatest display of His glory for the closing chapters of His word. The ultimate display of God’s glory is His glory displayed on the Bride of Christ. She is seen coming down from heaven onto the new earth radiating with the glory of God. Think about it, the bride consists of a multitude of fallen humans. Each member of this bride purchased by His blood and transformed by His Spirit. We have been joined together as one body and presented before all creation as the ultimate display of God’s glory displayed in His act of grace towards us. Unthinkable! Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on this incredible display of glory.

“That the glory of God is the highest and last end of the work of redemption, is confirmed by the song of the angels at Christ’s birth. Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.” It must be supposed that they knew what was God’s last end in sending Christ into the world; and that in their rejoicing on the occasion, their minds would most rejoice in that which was most valuable and glorious in it, which must consist in its relation to that which was its chief and ultimate end. And we may further suppose that the thing which chiefly engaged their minds was most glorious and joyful in the affair; and would be first in that song which was to express the sentiments of their minds, and exultation of their hearts.”

So the Lord has taken liars, adulterers, thieves, and bigots and transformed them by His love. We exist to display God’s ultimate work, the redemption of a fallen race through His love.

THE HEAVENLY WORSHIP LEADER

Rev. 19:4-5 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, ¶ “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”

After all the stunning things John had seen, this had to be at the top of the list. The Apostle John had a series of visions when he was caught up in the Spirit while praying on the Isle of Patmos. In this vision, he is observing the celebration taking place in heaven at the judging of the great harlot and the preparation for Christ to return for His bride. Here, he hears the voice of the resurrected, glorified man, Jesus Christ, exhorting the creatures in heaven to join with Him in worshipping the Father. What an amazing mystery! God the Son leading in the worship of God the Father. Wow! What an amazing scene. Our Lord Jesus in His glory still displaying the humility He portrayed on earth. What an awesome Savior. Here is a short clip from Jonathan Edwards observations on this passage.

“This may be looked upon as the voice of Christ, who “is in the midst of the throne” (Revelation 5:6), who overcame, and is set down with the “Father in his throne” [Revelation 3:21]. “The throne of God and the Lamb” are the same (Revelation 22:1). This is not the voice of God the Father, because the voice says, “Praise OUR God.” But supposing it to be the voice of Christ, this well agrees to what Christ says, “Go tell my brethren, Behold, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” [John 20:17]. Thus Christ leads the heavenly church in their praises. In the following verse we have an account of the church’s compliance, and following of Christ in praising God. Christ speaks of praising God “in the great congregation,” in Psalms 22:25, and Psalms 35:18, and Psalms 40:9–10.”

As Paul says, great is the mystery of godliness. Jesus Christ is still a man, He became one of us for eternity. He is leading the great congregation in worship. I can’t wait to be in that throng. Actually, Jesus led his disciples in worship when He was here on earth. After the last supper the scriptures said that Jesus led them in a hymn. As He was walking to His betrayal and His ultimate death He was singing. Why is Jesus a worshipper? Because He has the greatest revelation of the majesty and greatness of God. He has known His Father from eternity. Now, in His humanity, He not only represents us before the Father as a priest, He leads us into the Father’s presence as part of His heavenly ministry. This is the way into the place of intimacy with God. We don’t have to wait until we are actually in heaven to join this worshipping throng, we can join in now. We can join our voices with the angels, the elders, the redeemed, and with Christ Himself singing holy, holy, holy to our God.

THE LAKE OF FIRE

Rev. 20:14 – Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Hell is seldom mentioned in our have it our way world. Ministers seem to be fixated on success in the here and now and not so much on eternity. It appears that the measuring stick of successful ministry is something like “how are the crowds and how is the money?” If you were to take a look back at historic revival that effected society it was not like that, eternity was on the forefront of the preaching and in the thoughts of those being effected. Some examples that come to my mind was first the ministry of John the Baptist. This is an example of what John preached. ‘But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”’ (Matt. 3:7) Then there was the ministry of Jesus, He preached about hell often. “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—

where “Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.” Mk.9:47,48

And who could ever forget Jonathan Edwards. Here is a quote from John Piper speaking of Edwards emphasis on hell.

“Hell is unspeakably real, conscious, horrible and eternal—the experience in which God vindicates the worth of his glory in holy wrath on those who would not delight in what is infinitely glorious. If infinitely valuable glory has been spurned, and the offer of eternal joy in God has been finally rejected, an indignity against God has been committed so despicable as to merit eternal suffering. Thus, Edwards says, “God aims at satisfying justice in the eternal damnation of sinners; which will be satisfied by their damnation, considered no otherwise than with regard to its eternal duration. But yet there never will come that particular moment, when it can be said, that now justice is satisfied.” Of the love of God and the wrath of God, Edwards says simply, “Both will be unspeakable.”

Soooooo, how is it with your soul? Are you prepared for life beyond the grave? Life is precious and eternity is close. Open your heart to Jesus today.

THE NEW JERUSALEM

Rev. 19:7,8 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.

John’s description of the church is quite a contrast to the Babylonian harlot, the one world church. The church on earth has bought in totally to the spirit of the world, the spirit of antichrist. They act like the world, think like the world, talk like the world; all because the spirit of the world is in them. This weekend Egon Falk, a Danish Evangelist who ministers in Tanzania, told me about the spiritual condition of the church in Europe. He said that many European Christians are socialist in their belief system and have no problem with abortion. Our country is speeding down the same path being led by the broken academic world; our schools and colleges are swallowing up the path toward socialism. This big government approach is paving the way for a last day universal government that tries to run our whole society. Man is arrogantly trying to build a utopia without the Lord in it. The judgement of the antichrist, the false prophet, the one world government, and the false church are all imminent. Christ will return Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s passage.

“The occasion of this song; and that is the reign and dominion of that omnipotent God who has redeemed his church by his own blood, and is now in a more public manner betrothing her to himself: The marriage of the Lamb has come…..You have here a description of the bride, how she appeared; not in the gay and gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints; in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, both imputed for justification and imparted for sanctification—the stola, the white robe of absolution, adoption, and enfranchisement, and the white robe of purity and universal holiness. She had washed her robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and these her nuptial ornaments she did not purchase by any price of her own, but received them as the gift and grant of her blessed Lord.”

The rejoicing in heaven was spontaneous. The world system was finally being judged and Christ was about to return. I think all of us become distant and lukewarm, the time for repentance and renewal has come.

RETURN OF CHRIST

Rev. 19:11.12 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

This is another example of the amazing contrast between Christ in His humility as a man and His display of His glory as the Son of God. This triumphant scene, Christ coming to reign in Jerusalem riding on His white horse, accompanied by His enormous army, stirs the memories of that last grand entrance Christ made into Jerusalem The last time He was riding on a donkey, His glory concealed in His humanity. This time He comes in full demonstration of His power and glory. Every eye will see Him and His enemies will be instantly destroyed at His appearing. In that moment of time the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed, the Kingdom of our Lord will begin to reign on this earth. Here is how Tim Lahaye describes this passage.

“The present rider, with eyes “like blazing fire,” can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The significance of the white horse is typical of the difference between this coming and Christ’s first coming. While on this earth our Lord fulfilled Zechariah 9:9, entering Jerusalem on a lowly beast of burden. Now His humiliation is done away and He will come in glory, properly using the white horse to depict His power and glory….“Faithful and True” presents our Lord as a contrast to the unfaithful deceivers of humankind, Antichrist and Satan. Our Lord has faithfully fulfilled all of His prophecies. “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years” (2 Pet. 3:8) suggests that a promise of God given a thousand years ago is as though it were given yesterday.”

I love the fact that Jesus is called Faithful and True. Every word of His promise will be carried out. Today, the spirit of the world, the spirit of antichrist, is desperately trying to hinder the coming of the kingdom of God. As Paul said, the kingdom does not come in words only, but it comes in the demonstration of power and signs and wonders. If the Lord is really Faithful and True, then we are about to experience the greatest revival of all time. His coming is imminent, its time for us to engage in the battle for souls.

HALLELUJAH

Rev. 19:1,2 – After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.”

Have you ever been to a performance of Handel’s Messiah? The Hallelujah Chorus is an amazing glimpse of this scene in heaven. Actually, Handel was inspired by the worship in heaven in the book of Revelation to compose his masterpiece, THE MESSIAH. He locked himself up in his home for almost a month after his dramatic conversion experience. His impression of the worship in heaven was his inspiration.

Revelation’s contrasts the heavenly worship with the misery found on earth. In Revelation 19, everything is coming to it’s final head. The false church and the one world government have been judged. Christ’s return is imminent. The heavenly beings can’t back their joy. Worship is breaking out as Christ prepares to return to the earth. Here is how Tim Lahaye describes this scene.

“In a vital sense the rejoicing in heaven in Rev. 19 results from the final triumph of good over evil, Christ over Antichrist, God over Satan, and the Holy Spirit over the spirit of evil. Ever since the fall of Adam the angelic creatures around the throne of God have anticipated that ultimate day when the cup of human iniquity would be filled with abominations and God would finally judge the human race. This contrasts with the attitude of people in the world, who will be weeping for the doom of the prostitute, Babylon. The scene in Revelation 19 offers a brief glimpse of what God intends to be the experience of humankind in their relationship with God, from which they fell.”

Today, we live precariously close to the unfolding of these events. To those whose hearts are fixed on this earth alone, misery and depression are looming. To those who have set their affections on Christ and His kingdom, the joyful anticipation deepens. Our hearts are filling with worship as the great day draws near. If these things are true we must press in to the Lord. Worship and evangelism have to become our daily bread. The world is hopeless, we have an anchor of hope that has entered the veil. Fix your hope on the Lord, join in on the great Hallelujah chorus, the Lord draws near.

THE WEDDING FEAST

Rev. 19:7 – Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready

One of the greatest events in anyone’s life is the marriage celebration. It is often anticipated for months and even years before the joyful day arrives. This day is designed to be the celebration of a brand new life between two individuals who love one another deeply. It anticipates the joy of the life they will enjoy together. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is Christ’s celebration with us anticipating the unspeakable joys of eternity. It will be the last great event that will take place in heaven before Christ returns to earth to establish His kingdom. Today, we enjoy the foretaste of that heavenly life. Just as a groom gives the engagement ring of promise to his future bride, Christ has sealed us with His ring of promise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is our taste of the incredible life to come. Here is how Tim LAHAYE describes this marriage of the Lamb.

“The marriage of the Lamb must take place in heaven, for in Revelation 19:11, after the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb, we find the Lord Jesus coming in what we call “the Glorious Appearing” to set up His kingdom… Ephesians 5:27 indicates the manner in which the Bride will be presented to Christ: “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This condition will exist only after the judgment of Christ when believers have been completely cleansed and the Church is made whole. For that reason we believe that the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will take place during the Tribulation, will precede the marriage supper of the Lamb, and immediately after the judgment of reward has been presented to the last believer, the marriage of the Lamb will take place. All Christians who have trusted in Christ during the “age of grace, from the day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church, will make up His Bride.”

The looming question we must ask is this, are you wearing the wedding garment? Christ’s return is near, the celebration is about to begin, only those dressed in the wedding garment can go. What is that garment? It is the righteousness of Christ we receive as a gift when we believe in Christ and allow Him to wash us clean. Come quickly Lord!

GOD’S ARMY

Rev. 19:13,14 – He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

I often remember those early days after my conversion. My wife, Parris, and I went to California and joined a ministry called God’s Army. That’s exactly what is was for me. I often called it God’s boot camp because that is exactly what I needed in those days. I clearly remember the day when I met the director, Robert Forester. He is a gentle giant of a man who we all fondly called “Big Bob”. I first met Big Bob when he knocked on the door of the camper Parris and I were living in. He introduced himself and asked if I had a job yet. I said no and he quickly replied, “If you get a haircut you might get a job”. Actually that was a huge moment in my life. We all know hair means nothing but it meant something to me. It represented my image and the rebellious life I had been living. Thankfully I recognized the authority of Christ in Big Bob and Parris cut my hair that afternoon. I had joined God’s Army. In today’s verse we see this glorious army of God returning with our leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is Tim Lahaye’s description of this scene.

“The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean”. The armies of heaven consist of the angelic hosts, the Old Testament saints, the Church, and the Tribulation saints. The most significant truth, however, is the garb of this army. They are “dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” Military men are issued fatigue uniforms for battle dress, not only for camouflage but also because war is so dirty that light-colored clothes would be severely soiled. Here, however, the Commander-in-Chief of the heavenly forces clothes His army in white, a practice unheard of in the history of warfare. The reason should not be overlooked by the reader: No member of the armies of Christ that come with Him in His Glorious Appearing will do battle. Not one of us will lift a finger, for the battle will be consummated by the spoken word of our Lord.”

Do you have your army clothes on? You know, that white and clean linen. You put it on by believing in Christ. When you surrender to him, you too will be ready for the army of the Lord.

BABYLON’S WINE

Rev. 17:1-2 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

There is an interesting comparison between the wine of Babylon and the new wine of the Spirit that Jesus spoke about. Drinking is a major part of the culture of the world. It plays a huge role in business, sporting events, weddings, parties; you name it and somebody brought the booze. The funny thing about drinking alcohol is this, it is only a cheap imitation of the wine of the Holy Spirit that Jesus prophesied about. The Holy Spirit has a highly intoxicating effect on everyone who experiences His presence. The effect is often characterized by extreme joy but the after effects are the most amazing of all. Rather than lowering our moral standards and causing us to be vulnerable to temptation like alcohol does, it actually produces a fresh morality and higher standard of purity in our lives. Other effects are a new love for the Bible, an irresistible attraction to Jesus, and a desire to spend time worshipping Him, especially with others. Drinking has often become part of our daily lives. Before I was born again, alcohol was a major part of everything I did. Today, Christ has more than replaced that need in my life. The counterfeit can never replicate the real, our hearts long for this heavenly beverage, only the new wine can fulfill what our souls are thirsting for. The Revival Bible has some interesting things to say about these contrasting wines. Check this out.

“The Wine of Babylon’s Cup is a spiced wine, designed to seduce the believer into an experience rather than a relationship with Christ. It is a seducer during revival, the exact opposite of the new wine of the Spirit….The new wine of God’s Spirit promotes relationship and sound doctrine. The counterfeit mentioned in Hosea 4:11 associates with whoredoms and takes the heart away from God. God commands the church to leave this atmosphere of fornication, renouncing the prostitute’s cup. Ancient prostitutes served a spiced wine capable of rendering their victims senseless, capturing their wealth, and abusing the soul. The satanic Babylonian system operates in the same manner, counterfeiting the wine of God’s wisdom (Prov 9:1-5), all the while gradually and progressively destroying her victims’ boundaries of common sense and self defense. Her counterfeit new wine turns the heart away from God, creating a thirst for experience, feelings, knowledge, and position.”

What a contrast, one wine attracts us to the things of God, the other wine leads us into the corruption and immorality associated with the worldly life. There is a wine from heaven, it is very real. Where can you find this drink, anywhere the Holy Spirit is welcomed. Stay thirsty my friend.