Revelation Part Three: Dive
YOU HAVE A CHOICE
The last thing I want to highlight in our study of the book of Revelation is the two sides within the text. For the original audience, they would have heard the prophetic declaration as a message of hope, that even though on this earth everything is going badly, in the end, God’s final redemptive plan is on track and all things are going to work out for good! But they would have also heard the sound rebuke, the warning to those who were sitting on the fence.
God was showing them the future of the two kingdoms that they were investing in, one going onto glorious victory and one being cast into the lake of fire and in John’s amazing creative way he presents both choices and calls the reader, including us to answer one question – YOU HAVE A CHOICE - CHOOSE SIDES!
When you read the book of Revelation in one sitting, you can clearly hear what John is trying to portray. You can hear this climactic story of two completely opposite sides. You can feel the tension between these two opponents. But one thing I want to point out before we get into the study of these two opposing teams is the battle is not even. Sometimes when I hear people talk about Satan or his demons, they make it sound like the battle between them and God is even. But let me tell you, God has already defeated Satan through Jesus Christ and this final redemptive plan in Revelation is just putting the final ending to him once and for all. Just because we are this side of Revelation doesn’t mean we are in a fight that doesn’t already have the victory here and now. Satan is still a created being and God is still the Creator! Remember that as you read Revelation. So, when I put Father God and Satan on the same level on opposing sides to show the teams I am in no way saying that they are even opponents. They are not!!
So, there are some hints in the book of Revelation that John is writing to a people that are suffering hardships for Jesus, he encourages them throughout the book to not give up and keep going. We see this in Revelation 2:3-5, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 2:10 and Revelation 3:8. As they heard this book read they would have heard the encouragement to keep going no matter what they face, but they also would have heard the strong rebuke to not find comfort in the systems of this world. To ensure that in the end you find yourself on the right team.
As you study this book you can see two teams emerging and they are the complete antithesis to each other. You have
HOLY TRINITY - UNHOLY TRINITY
FATHER - DRAGON
SON - BEAST OUT OF THE SEA: ANTI-CHRIST
HOLY SPIRIT - BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH: FALSE PROPHET
JERUSALEM HOLY CITY - BABYLON
BRIDE - THE PROSTITUTE
SEAL OF CHRIST - MARK OF THE BEAST
And this is only the beginning, as you read the text highlight these two teams in different colours so you can see them more clearly.
So why is John showing us these two teams? He is calling Christians to question, am I actually found on the right side, or am I sitting on the fence?
Revelations 18:4 says Come out of her my people!This is the heart of John, to stop doing anything in your life that leads to destruction. He is talking to the Church, he calls them “my people”, he is saying don’t let anything make you swap sides or align your heart with anything that denies Christ.
John is calling them out of a corrupt and oppressive system which is going to be ultimately ruined. Chapter 18 is a wakeup call, you can imagine the people in the audience getting convicted as it was read out “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn.” And all the merchants are suddenly very nervous…18:11 or “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea will stand far off” now all the Sea captains who have aligned themselves with the trade of Rome are feeling very convicted… 18:17 Then the final blow “Woe!, Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!” Now everyone who has profited from the wealth and security of this great city is feeling convicted, they are questioning themselves, is my security in the wealth and stability of Rome misappropriated, she is not going to stay strong for long? CHOOSE SIDES.
This message is supposed to shout loud and clear for us as Christians today. “Don’t let your heart be strong and secure in the things of this world, but find your strength and security in God alone.”
I love the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, with its words
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Today the book of Revelation is a book of hope, to say to you that God has everything under control. No matter how evil the world looks, evil will be destroyed. No matter how bad this earth looks, it will be renewed to a new heaven and new earth. No matter how bad your life gets or how hard things get, you have a hope in Jesus that He is coming back soon and he is bringing his Kingdom with him. Ensure that you are on the right team.
But there is one more warning of John that we find in the final trumpet blast of Jesus’ glorious return. When I teach End Times at C3 College we talk about the biblical evidence of each area of End Times, let me tell you The Second Coming of Christ is overwhelming in biblical evidence – over 300 prophecies say he is coming back. Read the final chapter of the book of Revelation, the climax of the book, we are in a restored Eden everything is back to its original intention in Genesis. The Kingdom has come on earth as it is in heaven, and the message of the book is loud and clear.
22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
And again 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
And again 22:20 “Yes I am coming soon.”
John states over and over again, the final message of Jesus before this incredible prophetic vision comes to an end. And Jesus final words are repeated three times, in holy perfection, I am coming soon. He has presented the two sides, he has presented what is going to happen in the future, so we can be assured that God is completely in control. We have checked ourselves to confirm we are on the right side and now this belief has to have an action – DON’T KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF BECAUSE I AM COMING BACK SOON. This is Jesus’ final cry to His Church.
Revelation is not a book just for you, it is a book to change you, to motivate you, to convict you that we need to get busy people!! Time is short, and when that final trumpet sounds and Jesus comes back in all his glory that final trumpet sound will bring us so much joy and excitement – the persecution will end, the trials will end, he is coming back as conquering King, but I want today for us to remember that that trumpet sound will also be the sound of the final trumpet blast at the end of the game. Full time – no more extra time, no more over time moments – GAME OVER! We will not be able to evangelise anymore, it is finished.
Now I know that is a strong and convicting way to end the TYB year but our heart here at TYB is for you to not only read your Word, engage with and love your Bible but to be the Bible message on legs. Be active in what you are reading, take the Word and do it. You need to bring the message of the hope of the book of Revelation to the world around you, He is coming back, conquering King to bring his Kingdom on earth and he wants every one of his creatures to be with him in this new creation, new heaven and new earth. Not one missing.
Revelation is a book to inspire you, stir your emotions, cry, laugh and cheer. It is a book to convict you and warn you to ensure that you are found in the faith at the end and a book to challenge you – bring as many home with you as you can. When that final trumpet sounds and this game is over, walk off the field with the understanding that you played the game to the last second, you left it all on the floor – as the dancer in me used to say!
We have absolutely loved journeying through the book of Revelation with you and I hope you have fallen in love with this book as I have. Know that your God is totally in control, get a heavenly perspective of everything that happens here on earth and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the beautiful way that only you can, go and love your community and share the gospel message of hope found in this incredible book with all who God brings into your path.
Be the Bible on legs to someone today!