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Jack Graham - Blacklist

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    Jack Graham - Blacklist
TOPICS: All Things New, Book of Revelation, End times, Judgment

There's a popular television show called "The Blacklist". Here's the story line of "The Blacklist". A former fugitive, criminal by the name of Raymond Reddington (ie Red) surrenders to the FBI and makes the authorities an offer they cannot refuse. Because he's highly connected with the criminal world, he offers to help the authorities find and arrest and put away the worst criminals on earth, and that's the Blacklist. A list of the most heinous, horrible, horrific, hellish, any other kind of "h" word you can name like that, criminals in the world! The list includes mobsters and super villains and psychopaths and politicians and preachers. Even a preacher shows up! And spies and terrorists. It's a violent and frightening show.

I'm not recommending it or endorsing it, but I am taking my title from the show because this is what Revelation 8 and 9 is about. It's the blacklist, and the worse criminals, the most terrible demonic forces imaginable are unleashed upon the earth. Imagine if the prisons were opened today and the worse criminals on the planet were released. The terrorists and the murderers and the thieves and the drug-addicts and all the rest are released, can you imagine the havoc that would be unleashed upon the earth? Well, God tells us in Revelation 8 and 9 that it's going to happen like that. You might say Revelation is rated "R" for violence. It's not for the faint of heart.

Revelation 8, verse 1 says: "When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour". Now stop right there. This is an ominous, eerie silence. And this silence in heaven is in anticipation of a hellish judgment that will take place, not only on earth but in eternity. So when it says there was silence in heaven, this is a sobering silence. It's like before the jury or the judge pronounces the verdict, and everyone is leaning forward, everyone is hushed. There is a holy hush in heaven. It's the silence of what's next, what's the verdict? God's judgment is about to be poured out. The seventh seal which leads to the Trumpet Judgments is about to be opened. And in full fury the wrath of God will be displayed. Now, remember, as I said, the true church will be absent from earth.

Now there will still be churches in operation I'm certain, because there are a lot of unbelieving churches and religions in the world. So there's religious activity, but Christians are in heaven. Real Christians are in heaven. And as a result the world gets what the world seemingly wants: a world without God, a world without Christ, a world without the church telling them what to do, no commandments, no Bible-thumping preachers. The proclamation of the Word of God in truth will be no more. And when the world gets what the world seems to want, they won't want what they get! Everything comes apart. The world goes crazy.

Verse 2 says this: "Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashing and lightning, and an earthquake".

So these trumpets are judgment trumpets heralding, announcing that the war is on! This supernatural battle that is taking place on the earth that will ultimately end at the Battle of Armageddon. But with these trumpets blowing with each trumpet sound a judgment follows. Now initially these judgments are on the natural world. Let me show you these judgments. I have a little chart, if you will, on the screen, and you can look at these. You may want to take a snapshot of that, but here are the Seven Trumpet Judgments to make it easy on all of us. And they're right there in the Scriptures.

The first trumpet is bloody hail and fire. That sounds bad-bloody hail and fire. And one third of vegetation is destroyed.

The second trumpet is a fiery mountain, a volcanic eruption. One third of the oceans are polluted. A falling star, one third of fresh water is polluted when this star, which has a name, Wormwood is the name of this star that falls in this judgment. And therefore one third of fresh water is polluted.

If you've ever been in a place where there is filthy, vile water, water that you can't drink, think the third trumpet because the water will be undrinkable. Of course, when there's no fresh water ultimately vegetation dies, people die, everything dies.

Fourth trumpet: darkness. One third of the sun and moon and the stars are darkened.

The fifth trumpet, chapter 9, is demonic invasion and torment. We're going to describe that in a moment.

The sixth trumpet is an army of 200 million, one third of mankind is killed. This is a supernatural, demonized army of 200 million terrorists who will attack the world.

And then the seventh trumpet over in chapter 11 is the announcement of Christ's reign, the kingdom which is to come. And these trumpets are about to blow and this series of judgments will follow. But before the trumpet blows, in this interlude of silence that I was talking about there is a beautiful truth regarding prayer; prayer in the midst of all of this. Verse 4 talks about the prayers of all the saints that are lifted up to the Lord like incense, fragrant and beautiful in the presence of the Lord.

Now the saints are all believers. There is no evidence in the Bible that saints in heaven pray for saints on the earth. Because if you are a believer you are a saint! We're all included! So it's not just the special ones that get their prayers heard in heaven or get our prayers heard in heaven. We don't need a saint to pray to or a saint to pray through to get our prayers to heaven! All the saints in Jesus' name! We pray to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit! All the saints. Jesus taught us to pray, and when He taught us to pray, He taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".

You have prayed this prayer, millions of Christians have prayed this prayer through the centuries. And the collective prayers of God's saints through the years, through the centuries are in heaven. And now these prayers are about to be answered: that the kingdom of God would come! I hope you pray that prayer for yourself, for your family. "Lord, Your kingdom come in my life, in our family, in our community, in our world. Lord, Your kingdom come, Your will be done"!

And it's about to be done here because now all of these prayers precipitate the trumpet judgments. Before the kingdom comes, before God's kingdom comes, Satan's kingdom must go. And these prayers are mixed with incense at the altar which is a picture of the cross, and they are always answered in God's way, in God's time. You never prayed a prayer in Jesus' name that didn't get to heaven. Not one prayer that you offered sincerely before the Lord is ignored! Not one is wasted! The answer is on the way! The answer is on God's to-do list! So when you pray count on the fact that God hears and God knows and His kingdom will come. That's the goal - that the kingdom would come. And the kingdom will come. Pray for it; wait for it.

Well, that brings us then to this terrible judgment, the sinners' punishment. And initially as I noted on our chart, the judgments are of a physical nature against the material world. My friend, Dr. Charles Swindoll, said this: "God uses physical disasters to communicate spiritual messages". That's true. Fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, disasters of all kinds-to get our attention. People begin to pray. They think about their own lives. And some of you, God brought you to faith in Christ because of some great disaster, if not a physical disaster, maybe an emotional turbulence in your life, or some relationship wreckage in your life. It was a crisis, it was thunder and lightning that brought you to Jesus, and so you're grateful.

And if there's tribulation in your life right now, if there's a storm brewing in your life, thank God for it, and run to Jesus! Run to Jesus! Unfortunately people we meet here in Revelation 8 and 9 don't run to Jesus. Instead they run to judgment. And as a result this ecological, cataclysmic, these events take place. The Bible tells us that by Him, Jesus, all things consist. That means that everything holds together. You thought gravity held everything together? Gravity is just a word! God holds everything together.

Colossians 1:17, "By Him all things consist". And when God takes His hand off and puts His hand on in judgment, everything that's not nailed down is coming loose. So in these first judgments one through four, these are natural disasters of various kinds, and you can read about those. But I want to focus on trumpets five and six which is chapter 9, because these judgments now come against humanity. They come against people. And God judges first with a demon infestation.

Look in chapter 9, verse 1: "And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth", that star is a person. We speak of movie stars, sports stars. This is a star of another kind. This is Satan, the morning star as described in Isaiah chapter 14. The morning star, the son of the morning who became the father of the night, Satan himself. This is a reference to Satan who fell out of heaven, out of a high and exalted place as an angel. Satan was an angel in the presence of God, a high and exalted angel who rebelled against God before there was a revolt on heaven, on earth, there was a riot in heaven, and a revolt in heaven! And with Satan, one third of the heavenly host rebelled.

These holy angels became unholy angels, therefore we know them as demonic spirits or demons. They are evil angels! And they manifest themselves in various ways. And we see this manifestation of these demons in verse one. The fifth angel blew his trumpet, a star fell: "And he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. And he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. And then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions". Belching out of hell the black smoke of torment and demonized angels who are described here as locust. They're called scorpions, they're called lions. All of these are references to demon spirits.

In verse 9 for example, we learn that demons are, chapter 9, rather, we learn that demons are active; "with crowns like gold on their heads", verse 7, "like horses prepared for battle". They are active and they are active in the world today! Not just when the end comes. This is a special kind of demon in the Tribulation period, but there are demons active in the world today. Jesus dealt with them constantly. And many of the things that we see in the world that are unexplainable are the result of principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places; demon spirits ruled by Satan himself. They possess, they oppress, they kill and destroy. I've seen the manifestation of demons personally. But really we see it every day if our eyes are open in this unseen spiritual battle, this warfare that is going on all around us.

Many of the things that we scratch our head and say, "How can that possibly happen"? Demon powers, evil spirits, demonic manifestations. And in the Tribulation it's going to be much, much worse. Today we don't see as much of it as even we see in some countries that we've been to. As I told you several weeks ago, we were in south Asia and we saw a demon manifestation while preaching in a village deep outside of the community. It's a frightening experience to be honest with you, but God got the victory. We hear the women who experienced those possessions that day, manifestations, are now free by the power of Christ. We're thankful for that, but many times these things happen where there's a lot of idolatry and false religion.

Today in America and other places you have the light of the church, you have the salt of the church and there is a restraining. But once the restraining is gone, it's all going to break loose. They are active. They are deceptive. They have "faces like humans", verse 7, so they're intelligent. They have "the hair like a woman", verse 8, that is, they are seductive, attractive; "teeth like lions", they are destructive, the "breastplates like iron", verse 9, they are assertive, "the sounds of wings like horses and chariots"; the "tails like scorpions". This is all symbolic language describing this infiltration of demons.

And, of course, all of this terror is but a precursor of the hell that is to come; what hell will be like. Hell is no joke. Hell is not a myth. It is filled with vile and wicked and eternal lostness. The Bible describes here in verse 11 a dark angel of the abyss. His name is Abaddon, that's Hebrew, or in the Greek Apollyon. This is either Satan himself or one of his key lieutenants. But it means disaster! Look, Satan and his demon forces are not in hell! Satan is roaming the earth to and fro, like an evil monster, like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. And he presides over this army of demonized terrorists who can possess and empower mankind. All of this is descriptive of a cosmic war and an unseen battle that goes on all around us.

The good news is, take a deep breath: in Jesus' name the victory is ours! Demons must flee at the name of Jesus! At the mention of His name! There's no reason for you fear a demon. All of the artillery and weaponry of hell is powerless against the mighty name and power of Jesus! So when Satan comes against you, resist him in Jesus' name! Call on the name of Jesus! Repent of your sin, return to Christ and Satan will flee! We overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. So demons are poured out. But then at the blowing of the sixth trumpet, the Bible says in chapter 9, beginning at verse 14: "saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels (these are more filthy, foul, demonic angels) who are bound at the great river Euphrates.'"

Now that's an interesting phrase there "bound at the great river Euphrates". Euphrates is the place near the Garden of Eden, the cradle of mankind. It will also ultimately be the coffin of mankind. Out of the Euphrates there are four more angels of mass destruction who rise up and they call forth mounted troops, in verse 16, "twice ten thousand times ten thousand: and I heard their number". In other words, 200 million. John heard that number. It's probably a number he could not even fathom. 200 million in this army invading the earth! And they come right out of the pit, out of the abyss, out of the bottomless pit, out of the Euphrates! Here's the black list and why called this message "The Blacklist". These are criminal angels so vile, so wicked, so depraved, so despicable that they've been in chains from the beginning and will be released in the Last Days! And they will devastate the earth with war. Two hundred million of them!

Now some people have looked at that verse regarding an army of 200 million and suggested that it's a human army. Maybe. Mao Zedong in the 1960's claimed that the Red Chinese Army could field 200 million soldiers. I don't know. But most likely I believe this is not a human army but a demon army. Maybe it's a human-demon army, a demonized human army. But the point of this passage, please don't get caught up in all the details of this because you might say it's one thing; I could say, no, it something else, and we could get all in the debate about that. But the point of this is that war and destruction and violence and depravity is coming to the earth.

Remember, when he talks about horses and lions and serpents and scorpions, it's the visualization of devastating and destructive powerful weapons. Sounds like nuclear war here. Right? John is using the only vocabulary that he has to describe things that are unimaginable! Under the authority of the Holy Spirit he writes these words that he may not even understand, but it's the description of this supernatural war and this devastation and this blood and this pain, and people are crying out to die! They're stung by these scorpion beings and it's so painful they pray to die but they can't die! I don't know about you. When I read this I want to weep because those left behind, our family and friends will face these judgments. We are on this road to Armageddon.

Now the fact is these trumpets of judgment are going to blow, but I'm waiting for another trumpet to blow. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "The trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. And then we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so will we ever be with the Lord"! I'm listening for that trumpet! I'm waiting for that sound! And I'm calling on you today to tell the world about Jesus because we don't want our family, our friends, our children, grandchildren to be here when this happens! I'm not going to be here! And if you're in Christ, neither will you!
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