Robert Jeffress - The King Is Coming
Hi I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. When the seven years of tribulation finally end, when the final battle is over, when God administers his final judgment on those who reject him, a peace will descend upon the universe like never before. And the victor, Jesus Christ, will establish his eternal reign over a new heaven and a new earth. My message is titled: The King Is Coming on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
My grandfather used to say, the end of anything is sad. That's true whether you're talking about an exhilarating football game, remember those, whether you're talking about a football game, an interesting book, a good movie or a cherished friendship, the end of anything is sad except for the end of the Bible. Because when we come to the end of the Bible, we find it's not the end. It is just the beginning of a brand new existence God has prepared for those who know Jesus Christ. And today we have come, not only to the end of the Book of Revelation, but we've come to the end of God's word itself. If you have your Bibles, turn to Revelation 22, for our final message in our series, final conquest.
Now, since this is the last message, I thought we'd take about five minutes to review where we've been in the Book of Revelation. So take your outline, get your pen and be ready to write very, very quickly as we review where we've been. Remember this Revelation was given to the apostle John when he was on Patmos, the island of Patmos, exiled for refusing to worship the Roman emperor. And Jesus Christ appeared to John in his glorified form and told him to write down this vision of the glorified Lord and the future that awaited those who remained obedient to Jesus Christ. That's the purpose of this book, is to encourage us to be obedient to Christ. Why? Because Jesus Christ is coming back again to reward the righteous and to punish the unrighteous. That's the theme of the Book of Revelation.
In chapter 1, we have the vision of the glorified Lord. That's how John saw him. Not as the suffering Savior who had been nailed to a cross but as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And then in chapters 2 and 3, the message to the seven churches. God picked out seven churches in Asia Minor and had a specific message to those churches. But to our churches, well is what God looks for, what God commends and what he condemns in a church. In chapters 4 and 5, we have a picture of heaven, praise in heaven and the opening of the scroll. This is right before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. And we see the church already in heaven, it's been raptured already. The churches around the throne of God praising God.
And remember there was that book, the book of redemption, the seven sealed book of redemption. It was a book that would describe the final acts of God to reclaim this earth that belongs to him. And somebody asked, who is worthy to open this book. And only the Lamb of God, Jesus, was worthy to open the book. When he does open that seven sealed scroll, we see in Revelation six, the first of three judgments on the earth. Revelation six begins the final seven years of earth's history. We call it the Great Tribulation. It is a time that God pours out his wrath on the earth, not only to punish unbelievers but also to redeem those who would trust in Christ. This is man's last chance to be saved. And we see the first of those judgments in chapter 6.
Remember the first of those sealed judgements was the king on the horse and he had a bow but no arrows in it. This is the beginning of Antichrist. It is interesting that he will assume power, not by force. There's no bow in that arrow. He receives it by acclamation. The world unanimously turns to the Antichrist for leadership. And the reason is very clear. There's apparently some worldwide crisis that has made people desperate for anybody who pretends to have an answer to that problem. Don't we see that today right now? Where we are in the, look, I'm not denying the reality of this pandemic. It is real. It is killing hundreds of thousands of people. People are getting sick.
I think it is right to have restrictions and to try to slow this pandemic. But the Bible indicates in the future, there will be a world leader who will assume power after a great worldwide crisis. Perhaps it is a crisis that has coincided with the rapture of the church. People are looking for answers. The economy is in a turmoil and this Antichrist assumes power. He is the worldwide dictator and that is the beginning of these sealed judgments. And chapter 7, we see the 144.000 Jewish evangelists. At the beginning of the tribulation, God will save and he will seal with protection, 144.000 Jewish evangelists. And then in chapters 8 and 9, we see the second series of judgments, the trumpet judgments. And then in chapter 10, the mighty angel takes a stand on the earth, remember one foot on the land, one foot in the sea and he announces that the end is near.
In Revelation 11, the two witnesses, God will raise up two witnesses and they will be killed because they deliver the message of God. And they will be miraculously resurrected for the whole world to see. These will be two lamp-stands, the Bible describes them, like Moses and Elijah, shining in the darkness. And then in chapters 12 and 13, an explanation about the Satanic Trinity. Just as there is a heavenly Trinity, the father, son and Holy Spirit, there is a Satanic Trinity. The dragon, that is Satan himself, the beast, the Antichrist and then the false prophet. In Revelation 14, there is the picture of the two harvest.
Remember the angel with the sickle that is about to gather two different harvest from the earth compared to ripe grapes. There is the harvest of the saved whom God will gather to himself, but there is the harvest of the unsaved. Remember the picture of those grapes that are about to burst forth, not with juice but with sand and God takes those ripened grapes and he throws them in the vat and they are trampled in that vat until their blood is spurting out at Armageddon, up to the bridle of a horse, the Bible says those are the two harvest. And then in Revelation 15 and 16, we have the final judgments, the bowl judgments against earth. And when we come to the end of chapter 16, worth the very brink of Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ. But before that happens, John explains two other things he wants us to understand.
In Revelation 17, we find the judgment against the destruction of religious Babylon, the harlot of Babylon, the false church that aids Antichrist in his rise to power, God destroys it. And then in Revelation 18, the destruction of commercial Babylon, the economic system of a world that goes up in smoke over night because of the judgment of God. When we come to chapter 19, we see all the world forces gathered on the plain of Megiddo for the Battle of Armageddon in which they attempt to overthrow the Antichrist. But in the midst of that great world battle, the heaven is open, the king appears and we appear with him to return to earth. And at that point, the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. And remember when we get to chapter 20, we have the millennium when Christ rules on the throne of David in Israel for 1.000 years, Satan is bound during that time. But at the end of the millennium, there is a final rebellion that Satan leads.
And after that rebellion, God says enough. And he cast Satan into the lake of fire. And there is a resurrection, the second resurrection of all the unsaved dead since the beginning of time. And they are judged according to the book, the Lamb's book of life and to the books, the record of their deeds. And the Bible says if any man's name was not found written in the book of life, the Lamb's book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire and tormented there day and night, forever and ever. And after that Great White Throne judgment, the present earth and heaven are destroyed by fire. And in Revelation 21 and 22, John says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and earth have passed away. And there is no longer any sea.
That is in the Book of Revelation in five minutes. Aren't you sorry, I couldn't do that quicker during this last year, but that's exactly where we been, in the Revelation. And now we come to a further word about the new heaven and new earth in chapter 22, some final words of encouragement, a warning and God's final benediction. Let's look, first of all, at some further information about the new Jerusalem. Remember there was no chapter break in the original text. It was all one continuous text. We've already seen that the centerpiece of the new heaven and new earth will be the capital city, the new Jerusalem. Right now that city is being built in what we call heaven. Jesus said, I'm preparing a place for you. I call it the ultimate and prefab housing, the Bible says, because although it's being constructed in housing, John said in Revelation 21:1, I saw the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven to earth.
God's building it in heaven, but it's a literal city that will be here on earth and it will be our primary, not exclusive, but primary dwelling place. One thing we saw about it was the tremendous size of this new city. John said it measured 1.500 miles by 1.500 miles, length and width and 1.500 miles high. It's a cube. It's over 2 million square feet, just on one level of it. It's a humongous city and there's not just one level, but it goes 1500 miles in the sky. That means over 600.000 stories of a skyscraper is this humongous city, the new Jerusalem. And then when we get to chapter 22:1, there's another aspect of the new Jerusalem. There's a river in it. There's no sea but there is a river.
Look at verse 1. Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal coming down from the throne of God and of the Lamb. We'll see in verse 2 that this stream flows through the middle of the city, it dissects the main street of the new Jerusalem. Remember in the Garden of Eden, there was a river that watered the garden. It had four branches to it. There'll be a river in this new city as well. I'm glad there's going to be water. There's something about water that is refreshing. It symbolizes eternal life in the Bible, but it's a place of refreshment. I mean, isn't that true right now in the dog days of summer here in Texas, we try to get to the water as quickly as we can, whether it's going to the coast or new braunfels or hurricane harbor, we want to get close to where the water is. It brings relief.
Well, it's that same way in the new heaven and the new earth. And then in verse 2, there's something else John sees, and that is a tree, the tree of life. Look at verse 2, in the middle of its street, on either side of the river was the tree of life. We saw that tree of life in the book of Genesis. Remember after Adam and Eve sinned, God out of his mercy, kept Adam and Eve from eating of that tree. Had they eaten of the tree in their fallen state, they would have been separated from God forever. But we see this tree again. And apparently it is so large that it spans both sides of the street with the river in between it and it bears 12 kinds of fruit, yielding fruit every month, kind of the fruit of a month club, I guess. But there's a different fruit every month that this tree bears. So, why is that? Are we to take that literally?
Remember this, when the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense. I take the Bible literally, unless there's a reason not to. I think this is real fruit. The Bible says we're going to eat in the new heaven, in the new earth, in our new bodies. Remember the angels, they ate food when they came to Abraham in the book of Genesis. Remember Jesus and his new resurrected body for the 40 days he was here on earth, ate with his disciples. The Bible says we're going to eat at the wedding feast of the Lamb. This is fruit that's provided. Why? It says, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. In fact, why do we need healing if there's no more sickness and no more sin? That word healing comes from the Greek word that we get therapy from or therapeutic. This isn't healing from disease, it means it's health giving or life giving. It's mainly for our enjoyment.
And that's clear in verse 3, there's no longer any curse and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it. And his bond servants, that is you and i, will serve him. What do you mean, we will serve God? Don't ever think heaven's going to be you being confined to some cloud plucking a harp the rest of your existence. No, we're going to do things to serve God. God planted Adam and Eve in the eden and said, I want you to keep the garden and cultivate it. He had an assignment for them. There's work that we will do in the new heaven and the new earth as well. And then verse 4, they will see God's face and his name will be on their foreheads and there will no longer be any night. They will have no need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun because the Lord God will illumine them and they will reign forever and ever. We shall see God's face.
Remember, nobody has ever seen God's face and lived to tell about it, the Bible says. Remember in Exodus 32 when Moses was discouraged over the rebellion of the Israelites and he pled with God, God, let me see your face. God explained he couldn't see God's face and live. But remember God took Moses and placed him in a hiding place, the cleft of the rock and said, I'll allow my glory to pass by you. And he hid Moses face where he couldn't see the front of God, but Moses was able to see the trailing edge of God as he passed by. And that experience caused Moses' face to shine with light, with the radiance of God's light. Finally in heaven, we will see the face of God.
Now, after that further word about the new Jerusalem, he gives us some words of encouragement beginning in verse 6. And the angel said to me, these words are faithful and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his bond servants the things which must soon take place. We saw this same word in verse 1, the things which soon must take place. Or quickly, I come quickly, Lord. It's the same word, soon, quickly. It's the word... In Greek. It's the word we get tachometer for.
Have you ever seen a tachometer in your car and you wondered what it was? It measures the speed of the revolutions in your engine. That's what it says here, the Lord is coming speedily. What does that mean, to come speedily? It means simply this, once the events of the end times begin to unfold, they will unfold very, very quickly. I like to use the analogy of a long line of dominoes. Remember as a kid setting up dominoes one right after the other, and you would take that first domino and you would tip it over and it would cause a chain reaction. Once you had tipped that first domino over, the rest was inevitable. And it's the same here. Once that first event, the rapture of the church, takes place, it could happen at any time, it could happen during the service. When it happens, everything will happen very, very quickly.
Look at verse 7, and behold, I Jesus Christ am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book. That's the same blessing we find in chapter 1:3, blessed it is everyone who reads and heeds the things in this book. The book of the Revelation is the only book of the Bible that has a special blessing attached to those who read it and obey it. Isn't it strange how many churches never open the Book of Revelation? The pastor never says a word about prophecy. Prophecy is the theme of the entire Bible, that Jesus is coming back again.
But would you also notice that this blessing is not for those who read this book and are able to fill out their Bible prophecy chart correctly. That's not who the blessing is to. Did you know, you get absolutely no credit from God if you get to heaven with a head full of correct theology? When you get to heaven, God's not going to give you a theological exam to see if you know everything correctly. You get no credit for knowledge. Now don't misunderstand. Theology is very important, the study of God. Because what we believe determines how we behave. But God did not give us the Book of Revelation or any of the Bible to increase our level of knowledge, but to increase our level of obedience to God. It's blessed is everybody who reads and heeds, that is obeys the prophecy of this book, that's who receives the blessing.
John was so overwhelmed by what he saw, look at verse 8. When I saw and heard, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. The angel said, don't do that. Don't worship me, I'm just a servant like you are. Worship God instead. And then verse 10, and the angel said to me, do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book. This book is not to remain a mystery unread or unstudied by people, don't seal it up for the time is near.
Now that really confuses people. Jesus is saying the time for his coming is near, it's been 2000 years since he's promised to come. Surely this is a mistake to say the time is near. That word time in Greek is a very interesting word. In fact, there are two words for time in the Greek language. One word is the word chronos, C-H-R-O-N-O-S, chronos. That's what we call clock time, clock time, the time, the time on the clock.
If I were to say to you, the end of my sermon is near. Don't get your hopes up, this is just an illustration. But if I were to say to you, the end of my sermon is near, the time of the ending of my sermon is near, you would think I meant clock time. It's so most 12 o'clock therefore he's almost finished. That's chronos. But that's not the word used here. He's not talking about clock time. He uses the word kairos, kairos, K-A-I-R-O-S. That refers to a season of time or an age. The season of Christ coming is near. And that's true, you see on your chart, I put on your outline. We are living in the last period of time before the rapture of the church.