David Jeremiah - The Victor Who Returns
The message of hope in the Bible is a message that's sorely needed in our day. And oftentimes, when people think of the end times they don't realize that if you're a follower of Christ that's the message of hope. What does the Bible say? It says: "Lift up your heads. Your redemption is drawing nigh". I don't know about the rest of you but as I look out on what's happening in our world today, it doesn't seem like it could be too far. So tonight I wanna tell you a story about where it's all going and how it all ends. Throughout the book of Revelation it seems like everywhere you look evil is running rampant, inflicting unprecedented suffering and persecution on God's faithful people.
But in Revelation chapter 19, the moment comes that God's people have been waiting for ever since Jesus Christ ascended into heaven before his awestruck disciples. It is the moment when Christ returns. The last few chapters of the book of Revelation and much of Matthew chapter 24 tell us about the details and how Christ will come to earth in judgment and justice. The Bible gives us a great deal of information about the priority of his return. In Matthew 24:30 we read: "At that time, the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory".
Most of us here tonight as Christians are very familiar with the First Advent of Jesus when he came to Bethlehem. But people are often surprised to learn that references to the Second Coming outnumber references to the First Coming by a factor of eight to one. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:28 that "to those who eagerly wait for him he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation". And it actually begins in the book of Genesis. Did you know that Enoch predicted the Second Coming of Christ? Jude tells us that Enoch predicted the Second Coming of Christ. Here's what it says in Jude 14 and 15: "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also saying, 'Behold the Lord comes with 10.000 of his saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who ungodly among them all of their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'"
Isn't that interesting? Enoch in the book of Genesis said Jesus is coming back. The prophet Daniel said that Jesus is coming back. He was known for his prophetic dreams and here in one of his dreams he tells us about the coming again of Jesus Christ. He said, "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with clouds of heaven! And he came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed". And the prophet Zechariah predicted the final epic battle between Christ and the Antichrist.
And Jesus himself in his Olivet Discourse said this: "As the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other".
Those are the words of Jesus. Jesus said one day he's coming back and when he does it won't be like the Rapture when we're caught up to meet him in the air and it's a secret moment just for believers. When he comes the second time, the Bible says, every person on earth will witness his return. And the angels even talk about it. Remember when Jesus was going back to heaven, remember what they said? They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven". Just as he went up, they said, he's coming back down. And Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, said: "The Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ".
Over and over and over in the Bible from Genesis all the way through the Old Testament, through all the Old Testament prophets, into the New Testament, in the words of Jesus, in the words of Paul, in the words of the angels, all of these people say the same thing: the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth some day. That's the prediction of his return. That's a good thing to clap about, amen? The place of his return is a really interesting thing because the Bible does tell us where he's going to land when he's come back. Listen to Zechariah 14:4: "In that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south".
This last year, over 800 of us went to Israel and one of the places where I get to preach in Israel is on the Southern Steps. And I love to preach there because when you stand there you can look out over the horizon and see the Mount of Olives where Jesus ascended to heaven and to which he is coming back some day. Whenever I preach, I always feel so blessed to be standing there where my Lord was taken up and where one day he's coming back. And just as surely as Jesus said, it's going to happen. The Bible tells us there's a preparation for his return. In Revelation 19:19 we read: "I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army". In the final showdown at the end of time, all the rebellion of the prior seven years will come to a head at the battle of Armageddon and in this battle the Antichrist, the kings of the earth, and the pitiful souls that are following them, will gather one last time and this time they will try to make war against Jesus Christ and defeat him.
Can you imagine how foolish it is to think you can fight against God and win? But they will be so determined to fight against Jesus Christ they'll forget about all their hatred for each other and a common enemy will bring them together and they will marshal all their forces to come one last time to defeat Jesus Christ. And then the Bible tells us what will happen. "I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war". The first time he came to earth Jesus appeared in obscurity, but the second time every eye will see him and the entire world will witness his return.
I have heard people try to explain that. They say, "Yeah, that's true because we've got satellite TV now. Everybody will be able to watch him on satellite TV". Listen to me, friends, if the one who spoke and the world was created wants everybody to see him when he comes back, I think he can pull that off. I don't know how it's gonna happen. But the Bible says when he comes the second time to make everything right that is so wrong right now every eye in every place in every corner of the world will witness his return. And the Bible tells us that he comes as no other warrior has ever come. Revelation 19:12-13 says: "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. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God".
And the Bible tells us he doesn't come by himself. Listen to me. Did you know that if you're a Christian now in this age, if the Lord tarries, you will be raptured. If you end up dying before he comes back, you will be caught up, you will even take precedence over those who are on the earth. And the Bible says you're gonna go to heaven immediately and you'll be with the Lord. And the Bible says when he comes back to wage war in this final battle, we are gonna be with him. The Bible says he comes with his holy ones and his mighty angels, amen? And the Bible says he's going to judge in righteousness. "Out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that it should strike all the nations. And he himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and the wrath of Almighty God".
The Bible tells us that one day Almighty God is gonna make things right. I don't know about the rest of you. Sometimes, over these last weeks, I've felt like hell has opened up its door and let every evil thing you can think of come out. Every time I turn on the television, I grew up reading these passages from the Bible and I remember when I was studying the book of Daniel I read a story about king Nebuchadnezzar who was such a hateful man and one day one of his enemies was caught. He had seven boys and he put out the eyes of all of the children and put out the eyes of the father last so that the last thing he would ever remember was that all of his children had been deprived of their eyesight. You read in the history of that particular time about beheadings. I never thought I would live to hear that term in my day, and it's been happening and children and young people and even babies. And then they're thrown into a mass grave.
How do you ever deal with such an awful thing? I've told so many people I think hell will be especially hot for people who torture individuals like that. You wonder how is that ever gonna be made right? Sometimes you say, "Why doesn't God do something"? And I wanna tell you God is gonna do something. He's gonna come back and make it right. In that passage I read to you a few moments ago that is attributed to Enoch by Jude, he describes what's going to be on this earth when God in his Son Jesus Christ comes back. Listen to these words again. "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men saying, 'Behold the Lord comes with 10.000 of his saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'"
Four times, the word "ungodly" appears. When Jesus Christ comes back, he's going to deal with the rebellion and the sin and the destruction and the hatred and the anger and the ungodliness of this earth, and he will do it in a moment. It won't be long. It will be in a moment. And then the Bible tells us that when he comes, he will punish the ones who have created all of this havoc toward the end of that period of time. Revelation 19:17-18, and verse 21, listen to this: "I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds of heaven, 'Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings and of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.' And all the birds were filled with their flesh".
Now, interestingly enough, in the 19th chapter of Revelation there are two suppers. There's the marriage supper of the Lamb and there's the supper of God. And I would suggest you make your reservation for the marriage supper of the Lamb because in the supper of God, you are the supper. If you don't know God, you will be the supper. Almighty God is very, very articulate in his expression to us that while we may be upset about how things are now, we serve a God who is able to make things right and one day he's going to set things right. And the punishment of the wicked at this moment will be so devastating that the Lord will have to summon all the birds of the world to come and clean up the carnage of their destruction. And then the Bible tells us that those who have perpetrated all of this evil will have a distinction that no one would ever want. Verses 20 and 21 says: "The beast was captured, and with him the false prophet and these two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of him who sat on the horse".
The Bible says that when he comes back, after he has punished those who have followed, he will take a special moment and he will snatch up the Antichrist and the false prophet from this earth and these two evil creatures will have the unwanted honor of going to hell before Satan. Satan doesn't join them until the end of the millennium. One thousand years later, Revelation 20, verse 10 says: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever". Interesting, the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire at the beginning of the millennium. One thousand years later Satan is thrown into the lake of fire and guess what? The beast and the false prophet are still there. They've been there for 1000 years and they will never leave, because Almighty God is going to make things right.
If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you listen to these words and, though they are somewhat fearful, I only tell you these things because this is what the Bible says. But you do not have fear because of your own wellbeing. It's fearful because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But if you know Jesus Christ, it's a reminder to you that when you're going through these hard times, these difficult times, and it looks like the enemy's winning, he may win a little skirmish here and there, but he's already lost the war. It's over. And the Bible says that when Jesus comes back, he will deal with all of this with the breath of his mouth. I don't wanna be frivolous about this but Jesus is gonna come back to this earth and he's gonna go, and it'll all be over. It'll all be over. Because this one who spoke and the world came into being is the one who will ultimately make it right and the Bible says that we will be with him forever and ever because we've put our trust in him.
If you know Jesus Christ, what the Bible says is, that if you are alive when Jesus comes back, you will be caught up together to be with him and you will be taken to heaven. If you happen to die before he comes back, the Bible says the dead in Christ shall rise first and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together to be with him and so shall we ever be with the Lord. So if you're a Christian, you got it all covered. But if you're not a Christian the only way that you can be protected from the awful judgment that is going to come upon this world and from an eternal punishment in the lake of fire, is to put your trust in Jesus Christ today. I want you to know tonight, my friend, that God loves you, that he always has, that he's prepared a plan for you to take you to heaven. He's made it easy and simple so that even a child can believe. But my God will not force himself upon anyone. He offers his gift. He waits for you to receive it. And I wanna ask you prayerfully tonight to receive that gift and receive Jesus Christ.