David Jeremiah - The Victor
Orbiting the Earth for more than two decades, the Hubble telescope opened up new heavenly vistas for us that were never before seen or even imagined. Hubble changed the face of astronomy, ushering in a new chapter in exploration of the universe. The breathtaking beauty of the heavens awakens within man a desire to travel through space in pursuit of answers to life's most profound questions about the origination and destination of our existence. But as Christians, it is not necessary to travel through space to answer these questions, for the one who first journeyed from Heaven to Earth brought with him the answers concerning our past, our present, and our future. Jesus revealed himself physically to humanity on Earth, becoming a man, dwelling with man, until his death on the cross, his resurrection and ascension back to Heaven.
Christians are familiar with the first coming of our Lord to Bethlehem because we accept the record of it in the four gospels, but you may be surprised to learn that references to the second coming outnumber references to the first by a factor of eight to one. Scholars count 1.845 biblical references to the second coming. There are 260 chapters in the New Testament and 321 mentions of the second coming in those chapters. His return is emphasized in no less than 17 Old Testament books. New Testament authors mention his return in 23 of their 27 books. In other words, 1 out of every 30 verses in the New Testament teach us about the return of Jesus Christ to this Earth. The Lord himself referred to his return 21 times.
The second coming is second only to salvation as the most dominant subject in the New Testament. In spite of all of the evidence in the Bible that validates the return of Jesus Christ, the vast majority of people do not believe that it will ever happen. Why? Perhaps it is because his second coming will have a different purpose. He will not come again in the form of a humble infant who will live among us and die as our Savior and Messiah. When he returns, Jesus Christ will come in triumph to dispense God's final judgment upon a wicked world. So who is the one who journeys once again from Heaven to Earth to fulfill God's ultimate plan for this Earth? Jesus Christ The Victor, an Agent of the Apocalypse.
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 want to 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 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 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.
Scholars have identified 1.845 different biblical references to the second coming of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, Christ's return is emphasized in no less than 17 books, and the New Testament authors speak of it in 23 of the 27 books. Seven out of ten chapters in the New Testament mention his return. In other words, 1 out of every 30 verses in the New Testament teach us that Jesus Christ is coming back to this Earth. And the fact that Christ's second coming features so prominently in scripture is an indication that this event is important to God, and as a result, it should be important to us. It is predicted throughout the Bible wherever you look, in fact, it's quite interesting, even in the book of Genesis, as I will show you. The Bibles 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? Well, you say, "Where's that in the book of Genesis"? it's not in the book of Genesis, but it's in the book of Jude, and Jude tells us that Enoch did it. Now, if it's not in Genesis that's just because it was left out providentially by the Spirit of God. But Jude tells us that Enoch predicted the second coming of Christ. Here's what it says in Jude 14, 15, "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands 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'". 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 (Daniel 7:13-14), "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, 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 (Matthew 24:27, 29-31), "For 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. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and 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 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 (Acts 1:11), "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up 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 (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8), "the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on 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 comes back. Listen to Zechariah 14:4, "And 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, it's going to happen. The Bible tells us there's a preparation for his return. In Revelation 19:19, we read, "And 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. Revelation 19:11, "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". 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've heard people try to explain that. They say, "Yeah, that's true because we 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 will 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?
Zechariah 14:5 says, "the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You". And Jude 14 says, "Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones". Now, the Bible says everybody is gonna be dressed in white. I used to wonder about that. I don't know too many people that go to war dressed in white. But the whole army's dressed in white. You know why? Because they don't have to do anything. They don't have to fight. They're spectators. They just come to watch. The Bible says the Lord takes care of it all by himself. He didn't need us, but we're gonna be there to witness what happens. Amen? And the Bible says he's going to judge in righteousness. Revelation 19:15, "Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and 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. And you wonder, "How is that ever gonna be made right"? Sometimes you say, "Why doesn't God do something"? And I want to tell you, God is gonna do something. He's gonna come back and make it right. And he will do it in a moment. It won't be long. It'll be in a moment. The Bible tells us that his purpose is to rectify everything that seems so out of sync to us right now. 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, "Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh 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 Revelation 19, 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, "Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet... 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 1.000 years later. Revelation 20:10 says, "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the 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. 1.000 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 1.000 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 well-being. 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 just 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. Yeah.
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 want to 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 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 want to ask you prayerfully tonight to receive that gift and receive Jesus Christ.