We live in a post-modern era where any absolute truth is being denied. You’ve heard plenty about that; we’ve spoken about that. That is a rebellion against truth. That is a rebellion against the God of truth. There is truth, and God has ordained truth in every aspect, from the physical to the spiritual realm. And there is an inescapable absolute law that is in operation. You many not believe it; that doesn’t change it.
If you’ll open your Bible to Galatians chapter 6, I want you to see how simply that law is laid out, verse 7. Galatians chapter 6, verse 7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to how own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” The apostle Paul here declares something that is a self-evident truth. It is axiomatic, it is not arguable: what you sow, you reap. That’s simple and absolutely true.
The agricultural illustration cannot be gainsaid. Whatever you sow, you will reap. But Paul is not talking about agriculture, he’s talking about the realm of spiritual life, and he says, “If you sow to the flesh, sin, you will reap corruption. That is inevitable. And that word in the original Greek means decay, ruin, death, or destruction. So if you sow to the flesh, it is inevitable that you will reap corruption, decay, ruin, death, and destruction. On the other hand, if you sow to the Spirit, you reap eternal life. Everybody in the world is sowing to one of those two – either to the flesh in sin, or to the Spirit in righteousness – and the outcome is absolute.
But let’s talk about sowing to the flesh and reaping corruption. Sin has consequences. It has personal consequences. It has physical consequences. It has relational consequences. It has national consequences. It has global consequences. And most significantly, it has personal consequences, and ultimately, eternal consequences.
Every sin ever committed by every person will be judged. And in our current situation in the world people keep asking me the same question: “Do you have any confidence that things are going to get better?” That’s the question. “Is there a better life in the future? Is there hope for us? Is this, in fact, the way the world is going to be from here on out?” The only answer that I have for you is this: this is an absolute law; and when enough people are sowing to the flesh, sin, relentlessly, it accumulates a kind of corruption that is inescapable. It’s inescapable; and God will not overrule the law of sowing and reaping. And the world is so totally dominated by the flesh, by sin, that it cannot avoid a harvest of corruption, decay, destruction, ruin, and death.
Now as people face the realities of life in our day, most of them would like to change it. There are the elite globalists who meet in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, high-powered, extremely wealthy people who believe that their objective is to save the planet, to avert climate collapse through the elimination of fossil fuels, plastic, and I suppose hairspray, and they want to introduce into the world a new future by a new green world order. And then there are the social anarchists, the protestors and the rioters who are trying to reset society to their will by fear and anarchy. They don’t really have a plan for the new world, they only have a plan to tear down the one that exists. They create chaos for chaos’ sake, looting, shooting, killing those that they view as oppressors or capitalists. They are after a scorched world that they can redo in godless, immoral socialism.
And then there are the race hustlers relentlessly assaulting White people, dividing everybody into an identity group, and accusing everybody of cosmic sins because of who they are, not what they did. They’re at the same time attacking any unity in the country, any good will, any remnant of love and compassion, forgiveness. They’re attacking marriage. They’re attacking the family. They’re attacking mothers. They’re attacking fathers. They’re attacking sexual normality, fidelity. You know all this. And all of these groups are basically using this COVID virus lockdown as a tool to get to the reset that they’re after. The only thing that stands in the way really is the church of Jesus Christ. And so the church must be marginalized.
Now there are some folks who are still singing “God Bless America,” Irving Berlin’s famous 1918 song, and hoping for some divine intervention and hoping for the salvation of capitalism and democracy and kindness and good will. Do they have any realistic hope? Let me say this: if we actually identified the necessary conditions for God to bless America, the politicians, the policy makers, the media moguls, the social leaders, the educators, and the general population would be offended by it. They want God to bless, but not on His terms. It’s a really contentless wish. It’s a sentimental wish. There is a path to blessing, but you have to be willing to acknowledge it.
All of that to say this: are things going to get better? The immediate answer is no, no, for one clear reason: what people sow, they reap. And they sow sin and reap corruption, and you have so many people sowing sin that the harvest of corruption is massive. Back in Job chapter 4 and verse 8, we read, “According to what I’ve seen,” – says Eliphaz – “those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.” That’s the harvest.
Those who are trying to fix the world have an impossible task. Trying to fix the world environmentally, trying to fix the world socially, trying to fix the world economically, trying to fix the world morally, trying to fix the world sexually, trying to fix the world politically is trying to get a crop different than what is being sown. Not going to happen. The foundational truth is this: the dominating presence and power of sin accumulates a massive harvest of corruption, destruction, ruin, and death.
Look, there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible; 4 of them don’t involve a sin-cursed world – the first 2 and the last 2, before sin and after sin, before the fall and the new heavens and the new earth. Everything in-between is just the history of sowing and harvesting sin and corruption. I want you to understand how common this is declared in Scripture, so just listen for a moment and think about your own experience in reading through, say, the Old Testament to start with.
The Old Testament is a series of disastrous consequences, isn’t it? From Adam and Eve and the disaster of the fall which affected the entire universe, every human being, to Cain and Abel’s disaster, to the disasters in the life of the Patriarchs and Moses, the nation Israel, the kinds, the priests, even some of the prophets, and the Gentile nations. The whole story of the Old Testament is a story of sin and corruption. Sin has built-in consequences.
Listen just for a moment. I’m going to just speak some things that are located in the book of Proverbs. I won’t identify where, I’m just going to let you listen. “Those who do evil lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives.” “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked.” “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held by the cords of his own sin.” “He who sins against me injures himself; and all those who hate me love death.” “The years of the wicked will be shortened.” “The wicked will fall by his own wickedness.” “The cruel man does himself harm.” “The wicked earns deceptive wages.” “He who pursues evil will bring about his own death.” “The evil man will not go unpunished.” “He who seeks evil, evil will come to him.”
“The wicked are filled with trouble.” “Wickedness subverts the sinner.” “Adversity pursues sinners.” “The house of the wicked will be destroyed.” “He who tells lies will perish.” “He who is careless of conduct will die.” “The violence of the wicked will drag them away.” And that’s just a sampling of what is all through the book of Proverbs. Those are maxims that we have to understand. “What you sow, you reap,” is just being said over and over and over and over. And by the way, what you sow, you reap; but not you alone. Cumulatively, everybody else is brought into that corrupt harvest.
Looking at a couple of other portions of Proverbs, let me read chapter 1, verse 25: “And you neglected all my counsel and didn’t want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
In the sixth chapter of Proverbs, starting in verse 14, we read, “Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.” And then this familiar passage, Proverbs 6:16, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Sowing those things reaps a harvest of corruption, and also produces the judgment of God. Back in Number 32 and verse 23, we read these familiar words: “You have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will” – what? – “find you out.”
And what about the New Testament? Turn to Romans chapter 1, very familiar portion, Romans chapter 1, verse 18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” What I want to introduce here is this: sin has consequences, and they’re not some neutral cosmic law that produces those consequences. Those consequences are the direct expression of the wrath of God. It is the wrath of God that is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
You say, “Does everybody suppress the truth about God?” Of course, “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they didn’t honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” All the false religion in the world is open rebellion against God, going against even the revelation of God visible in creation and understandable by human reason.
It isn’t just something that happens because sin generates it. What happens is not generated by sin, it is brought by God. It is the wrath of God. That wrath means God gives people over. Here’s the sowing and reaping: gives them over. They sowed lust, “He gave them over to lust,” – lust in their hearts – “to impurity, so their bodies would be dishonored among them.” That’s a sexual perversion. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who’s blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,” – homosexuality – “same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their error.” AIDS. AIDS is not simply because of some viral agent, it is that God uses that as an act of His own wrath.
“They didn’t see fit to acknowledge God any longer,” – verse 28 says – “God gave them over to a depraved mind. Out of that came all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander. They’re haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and though they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
As I’ve been saying in some of the media interviews, our culture looks like a national version of the Jerry Springer Show, where people laugh at perversion. That’s what happens when you sow sin, you get the harvest of corruption. Think about it: there are something over seven billion people in the world, approaching eight billion. The vast majority of those people are very busy sowing sin, and the harvest of corruption is massive. It’s reminiscent of actually what happened back in the book of Genesis.
You remember the words, familiar words of Genesis 6 and verse 5, just before the Lord sent the flood. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” And down came judgment, wiped out the entire human race except for eight persons.
You sow that sin, you reap the harvest of corruption, and down comes divine judgment. And what does divine judgment look like? Well initially it’s God just giving you over to your lusts, multiplying the perversities, multiplying the iniquities as they’re listed at the end of the chapter; and the corruption accumulates and accumulates; and the weight, the sheer weight of that corruption is incomprehensible, particularly when God is too holy to look on any corruption. The offense to God is massive and far beyond our comprehension.
And don’t think you can reverse it. “Be not” – what? – “deceived, God is not mocked.” Don’t be deluded into thinking that God will not allow the harvest of the seed sown. No amount of psychology, no amount of social science, no amount of education, no amount of green energy, no amount of racial reparations can change that harvest. The world is reaping that harvest; but all of these people who are trying to fix the planet are doing nothing more than arranging deck chairs on the Titanic as it goes down, or building sandcastles when a tidal wave is coming. People are using COVID to help in their silly reset efforts and they’re keeping the population in fear as long as they can, at every point, so that the human race gets into a freefall from which it cannot recover. The truth is it is in a freefall and it can’t recover. Humanity is like a man who jumps off a 40-story building and starts wondering how he can change the inevitable consequence before he hits the pavement.
The Bible is so explicit on this, and yet it is so rarely addressed. It’s everywhere in Scripture. Let me share some things with you. Jeremiah the prophet, the weeping prophet, writes in chapter 19, verse 3, “Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. Because you have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent” – slaughtering babies – “and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter. I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. And I will also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its disasters. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters,” – because they’re starving in a famine – “they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.’” God is serious about the consequence of sowing sin.
The prophet Nahum opens his prophecy, “The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” That’s the word of the Lord through the prophet.
In Matthew 10:28, our Lord says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear the One who can kill both soul and body in hell,” and that One is God Himself. Romans chapter 2, sinners are not only experiencing the harvest in the present, but, Paul says, they are storing up wrath for the future when there is the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. The Bible is just full of these warnings, full of these warnings.
In the New Testament the warnings are more specific, more specific in the sense that Christ has come, salvation in Him has been provided and made clear. The preaching of the Son of God calls to repentance and calls to faith have been sent out to the people, and they were rejected. They were rejected by Herod. They were rejected by the Jewish religious leaders. They were rejected by the nation. They were rejected by the scribes. They were rejected by the Gentiles, by Pilate, by the Romans, by the rest of the lost world. “Came unto His own, His own received Him not.”
And so now the culpability of the world is compounded significantly, because in Hebrews chapter 10, it’s not just a matter of rejecting what God said in the Old Testament, but what God did through His Son. Listen to these words in the tenth chapter of Hebrews: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth,” – that’s the gospel; what is going to happen? – “a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” And he looks back to the Old Testament and says, “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy. But how much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” And that’s when God says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” No reset is possible.
And again, most who want God to bless them have no interest in meeting the conditions of blessing which are pretty simple: repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Morality doesn’t help. We went through the era of the moral majority; that didn’t accomplish anything because external morality just makes people into Pharisees. Pharisees are the model for history of morality covering blasphemy. Jesus saved His most severe words of judgment for the most religious people. He called them snakes, whitewashed tombs, hypocrites, children of the devil, and sons of hell. Superficial religious morality, spirituality – as you hear people refer to it today – is just sowing sin and will always reap corruption.
I want you to listen to the words of Isaiah in chapter 34, just the opening ten verses. “Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. The Lord’s indignation is against all the nations, and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter.” And this looks at the future when that is accomplished. “So their slain will be thrown out, and their corpses will give off their stench, and the mountains will be drenched with their blood. And all the host of heaven will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree. For My sword is satiated in heaven, behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom” – as an illustration – “and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction, the people whom I have devoted to destruction.
“The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah” – that’s a city in Edom – “and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. Wild oxen will also fall with them and young bulls with strong ones; thus their land will be soaked with blood, and their dust become greasy with fat. For the Lord has a day of vengeance.” A recompence. “Its streams will be turned into pitch, and its loose earth into brimstone, and its land will become burning pitch. It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; none will pass through it forever and ever.”
So you ask me again, “Is there hope for the future?” Listen to Paul’s simple statement, 1 Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be cursed. If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be cursed.” Corruption, the divine curse on sinners is inescapable. There will be final judgment; and that’s what those prophets I read are talking about.
Turn now with me to the book of Revelation chapter 20, verse 11. Here’s the final judgment: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books” – God keeps a record of their sins – “according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades” – or the grave – “gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” The whole world will be judged according to their deeds and the ever sowed sin and always reaped corruption. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone’s name not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Eternal punishment. Eternal punishment. Paul said, “If anyone doesn’t love the Lord, he is to be cursed.” That curse is eternal punishment. That’s the judgment to come.
But I want to show you something. What happens before that? What happens before that? Let’s go back to the sixth chapter of Revelation. And this is going to be a rapid tour. Sixth chapter of Revelation.
In the fifth chapter the Son of God comes before the throne of God and He takes the sealed scroll. The sealed scroll is the title deed to the universe. The universe has been under the curse, but now it’s time in the future for the Lord to take back the universe. The scroll is the title deed to the universe, and in order to take it back He unrolls the scroll one seal at a time. Roman wills were sealed seven times. The Lord is going to take back His creation.
By the way, all the preoccupation with social issues, all the interest in social justice, financial equity, redistribution, oppression, victimization, socialism, identity fixation – all of those things are so meaningless in the light of what is coming. As Christians we have to know this because we have to know the future, and the Lord has showed it to us.
The Lord begins to unroll the scrolls. First is a rider on a white horse, verse 2, who has a bow and a crown; and he went out conquering and to conquer. This is a peaceful conquering; he has a bow without an arrow. Worldwide peace. Daniel 9 talks about the same thing. Antichrist secures that global peace. It’s a bloodless victory. Yes, the world is headed toward a fragile, superficial, global peace.
Doesn’t last very long. The Lord breaks the second seal, and the peace is over. A red horse seen in John’s vision, “And him who sat on it, to him it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.” So in the future there’s going to be a fragile peace taken very quickly by bloodshed and death.
Now just exactly when does this happen. This is a period known as the tribulation. Before we get to chapter 6, we go through chapters 4 and 5 and we see glorified saints in heaven. I’m convinced that the church will be taken out of the world. Jesus will come and call us. Those dead in Christ will rise first, and those who remain will be caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. He takes His church out, He removes us, He saves us from the wrath to come, and then the wrath begins to break loose as God begins to judge the world.
Slaughter through battle, assassination, rebellion, revolt, massacre. As a result of all of that, when the third seal is broken in verse 5, there is a scale, a scale. They’re measuring grain or food. “And I heard something like a voice at the center of the four living creatures” – those are angelic beings – “saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and wine.’” That’s famine. Those are famine conditions. There will come in following war famine and poverty.
The fourth seal is opened and an ashen horse, that’s a word actually chlōros from which we get “chlorophyll,” a kind of a pale green horse. “The one who sat on it had the name of Death and Hades. Authority was given to them. Following this ashen horse, Death and Hades. “Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, pestilence, wild beasts of the earth.” With eight billion people, that’s two billion people slaughtered in that judgment. It will be a time of pestilence. That’s the word thanatos, meaning death.
The fifth seal identifies some martyrs. And then the sixth seal – down in verse 12 – is broken, “A great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth” – like goat hair – “and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
This is frightening. This is terrifying. It goes from the killing of people to judgment on the cursed earth. Jesus talks about this and it’s recorded in Matthew and also in Luke. “An earthquake, the sun becomes black, the moon turns to blood. Volcanic eruptions,” no doubt, across the earth spewing steam and gas and dust, a smoke-darkened sky. Normal daylight and darkness are confused. “Stars” – verse 13 – “fall.” That’s asteres; it can refer to any stellar body. Can refer to stars, but any stellar body. The earth will be pummeled by comets, meteors, asteroids, unimaginable destruction, hitting the globe like cosmic machine gun fire. Fiery balls plunging out of the darkness, no place to hide, no place to hide. “People will try,” – verses 15 to 17 – “they’ll try to hide and say to the rocks and the mountains, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of the wrath has come, and who is able to survive?’”
The sky is split. Our Lord in Luke 21 talked about the terrors in the sky. Isaiah 34 – I read it to you already – the prophet says that the sky is rolled up like a scroll. It rolled up like a venetian blind let loose. Every mountain and island are moved. This is a complete shifting of the earth’s crust. It is the great day of God’s wrath.
In chapter 8 we see the seventh seal. After an interlude, There was silence in heaven four about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.” So the seventh seal is now described as seven trumpets. When the seventh seal and final seal is broken, there will be the sounding of seven trumpets blown by seven angels who stand before God.
Look down to verse 6: “And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.” These are more rapid-fire than the seals that stretch through the time of tribulation, a seven-year period. “The first sounded, there came hail and fire, mixed with blood; they were thrown to the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, third of the trees were burned up. All the green grass was burned up.” More volcanic eruptions – lava, fire, smoke – producing a hailstorm, all mixed with the blood of those that are killed. The globe is a raging fireball. Destruction of crops, destruction of vegetation. Destruction of animals, forests, and human life.
“The second angel sounds, and a mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.” God judges the land. In verse 7, He judges in verses 8 and 9 the sea. “Third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” God judges the oceans. Asteroids again pummeling the ocean. Creatures dying, billions of stinking dead sea creatures floating on the ocean. Shipping is destroyed, at least a third of it.
“Then the third angel sounds,” – in verse 10 – “and a star fell from heaven, burning like a torch. Another heavenly body comes down and falls on a third of the rivers and the springs of water,” from the earth to the sea to the fresh water. “This particular star is called Wormwood,” Apsinthos. That was a toxic bush referred to about half a dozen times in the Old Testament. “The waters are made toxic, a third of them become toxic, and many died from the waters because they were made essentially poisonous.
“A fourth angel sounds, and a third of the sun, third of the moon, third of the stars were struck. A third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” That is an incredible judgment on the sun, the moon, the stars.
Isaiah writes about it. Ezekiel writes about it. Joel writes about it. Amos writes about it. Our Lord speaks about it, and here we have it in the vision of the revelation. These are more of the signs in the sky that Christ referred to in Luke 21. The sky begins to collapse. The sun is interrupted in its normal appearance. The moon, the stars, day and night dramatically altered. Tides all over the world altered, receding so far as to expose the underbelly of the sea and inundating other parts of the earth with tidal waves, the likes of which no one has ever imagined.
And in verse 13, “There was an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’” Four have sounded; three more.
“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.” That’s Satan. Not only do you have the disintegration of the sky, the poisoning of fresh water, destruction in the sea, all of those natural judgments are then basically compounded when the Lord allows Satan to be released out of hell, “He opens the bottomless pit,” – verse 2 – “and out of the bottomless pit come demons, described like locusts, who have the power like spiritual scorpions.” They come out. “They were told not to hurt the grass or any green thing,” – which means there’s some time lapse here so that grass has been able to grow again – “but only the men who didn’t have the seal of God on their foreheads,” though they come back and do deadly, demonic damage. “But they’re not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.”
Hell belches out demons who heretofore had been contained there. They come to torment the world. “They have a king” – verse 11 says – “over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, in Greek is Apollyon, the Destroyer.”
Worst is yet to come, verse 13: “The sixth angel sounded, and the sixth angels blows the trumpet, and what is released is a massive army of two hundred million,” according to verse 16, two hundred million. “And they come” – verse 18 – “and they kill a third of mankind by fire, smoke, brimstone.” No doubt contemporary weapons of some sort.
Verse 20 shows you the response. Now they’ve gone through seven seals and six trumpets. “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues didn’t repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.” No repentance. John is seeing this vision of the future.
In chapter 11 and verse 15 we have the seventh angel sounding, and here is the declaration: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. And the twenty-four elders” – representing the church – “sitting on the thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped, saying, ‘We give thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants” – or Your slaves – “the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.
“And the temple of God which was in heaven was opened; the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a hailstorm,” as the divine vengeance machine of God begins to roll again. People are identified as those who destroy the earth. They destroy the earth by sowing sin and reaping endless corruption.
Chapter 16. In chapter 16 you have the seven bowls that come out of the seventh trumpet. These are rapid-fire in days or weeks. And here is more: the seven bowls of the wrath of God. Seven bowls of the wrath of God. “A loud voice” – again, there’s twenty times that’s said in the book of Revelation. “First angel pours his bowl on the earth, and it becomes a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.” Malignant. It’s actually the word helkos in Greek, from which we get “ulcer.”
“Second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.” Already a third of it is dead, and now everything in the sea is dead, as these final judgments come. “Third angel pours out his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they become blood.” Fresh water is made toxic over the whole earth, over the whole earth.
Verse 8, “The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.” Maybe that’s when it’s going to be with no vegetation and no water to drink, and the sun making the temperature 150 degrees. “Men were scorched with fierce heat.” Did they repent? No, “They blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues, and they didn’t repent so as to give Him glory.
“The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain,” – all the people who are part of the kingdom of the Antichrist are inflicted with more pain – “and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pain and their sores, and didn’t repent of their deeds.” Always the same reaction.
“And then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.” What’s that? “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; spirits of demons.” And what are they doing? “They’re gathering the armies of the world, those that are left,” – verse 16 – “to a place called Armageddon,” place called Armageddon. They come there to fight the Son of God, they don’t repent.
The final devastation: “Seventh angel pours out his bowl on the air, and a loud voice again comes out of the temple from the throne, ‘It is done.’ Flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and a great earthquake, such as there has not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into parts, the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of his fierce wrath.” Babylon is the name for the final world religion and the final world global economic system.
“Every island fled away.” The earth’s surface was readjusted earlier, but now, “Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Everything is flattened out. “Huge hailstones, one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven on men who blasphemed God because of the plague because its plague was extremely severe.”
Chapter 17 says at the same time God is destroying the world religion that has been developed. Chapter 18, He destroys the world economic system – and you can read the details. All of these tremendous judgments – judgments on the land, judgments on the sea, judgments on the rivers, judgments in the sky – make environmentalism idiotic. And to try to reset social structures, folly, because this is what is coming; and we’re nearer to it now than we’ve ever been. There’s a global world described in the book of Revelation: one world religion, Revelation 17; one world economic system, Revelation 18. We’re closer to that than ever in history.
Chapter 19, then Christ comes. “I heard a loud voice again, a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He’s judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality.’ – that’s the false religious system – ‘He has avenged the blood of His slaves on her.’ A second time they say, ‘Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.’ Twenty-four elders” – representing the saints – “and the four living creatures” – the angels – “fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’ And a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Give praise to our God, all you His slaves, you who fear Him, the small and the great.’ More hallelujahs, peals of thunder,” – verse 6 – ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.’”
Then the marriage supper of the Lamb. Believers are given their rewards. Verse 11, “Heaven opens.” After heaven pours out praise at the beginning of the chapter, “Heaven then opens, and out comes a white horse, and the one on it is Faithful and True,” and this is a visionary picture of Christ returning. “His eyes are a flame of fire, on His head are many diadems,” all crowns. “He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” People always ask me what that name is. “It is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name was The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven,” – and that would be the angels and us – “clothed in fine linen, white and clean, are following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” There will be judgment.
“An angel standing in the sun cries with a loud voice, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, flesh of horses and those who sat on them, flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, small and great. And I saw the beast” – the Antichrist – “and the kings of the earth and his armies assembled to make war against Him.” They were all brought together in the bowl. Now they’re at Armageddon, and obviously the Lord is victorious: “The beast is seized, the false prophet, who deceived those who received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two were thrown into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. The rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and al the birds were filled with their flesh.” That’s where the world is headed.
Now as Christians, what do you think we ought to be busy doing? We ought to be busy doing what we have been called to do, and that is preaching the gospel so people will believe in Jesus Christ and not be there when this happens. That’s our calling.
After that, chapter 20 says, “I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; threw him into the abyss, shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; and then he would be released for a short time. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark in their forehead and their hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” That’s the kingdom.
How long is the kingdom? A thousand years. You say, “Does it mean a thousand years?” If it doesn’t mean a thousand years, you’re going to have to tell me what it does mean; and I’m not going to believe it because it says a thousand years. So for a thousand years, Christ is going to reign. For a thousand years, Christ is going to reign.
I want to take just a minute and tell you what it’s going to be like, because the prophets tell us. It’s the world we’re all waiting for. According to the Old Testament prophets there will be universal justice and peace. All wars will cease because there’s no military left in the world. Taxation will go down, crime greatly reduced, plentiful rainfall, abundance of food and cattle are pictured by Isaiah. The curse on the earth is partly lifted. There will still be death, but people who die at a hundred will die like a child.
The land of Israel will become a garden, a river will be created when the Mount of Olives is split when Jesus hits it; that river will flow into the desert and it’ll blossom like a garden. Poverty and distress and inequities will disappear. Animal creation will be changed; the lion will lie down with the lamb, and a child can play in a snake pit. Amazing things. You can find them all in the Old Testament Prophets. The earth now is flat, and one place is exalted: Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be exalted, Zechariah 14. The whole world will be depressed, and Jerusalem exalted: Isaiah 2, Micah 4.
It’s incredible how the Lord will restore the earth. It’s paradise regained, paradise regained. For a thousand years there’ll be justice and equity. Our job is not to do that in a superficial way, our job is to preach the gospel, because only Jesus can rescue someone from the wrath to come. At the end of the thousand years, chapter 21 and 22 says, “He creates the new heaven and the new earth.” The current universe is uncreated. Second Peter says it melts like fervent heat. There’s an atomic implosion. In its place a new heaven and a new earth, the final eternal state described in 21 and 22. How do you escape these judgments? You remember the words of Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect” – what? – “so great a salvation?” “Knowing the terror of the Lord to come” – Paul says – “we persuade men.”
First Thessalonians 1:10 is probably the best place to finish. It says, “Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come.” What is the job of the church? Get sucked up in every worldly enterprise to try to negate an inescapable law of sowing and reaping? Foolish. Foolish. There’s a harvest of corruption, and it’s going to get worse, and wrath is going to come; and our responsibility is to tell people that only Jesus can save them from the wrath to come.
Father, we thank You for Your Word; it’s overwhelming really. Thank You for giving me grace to present this. And I only pray that You were honored and glorified. So many people fooling around, going to churches that talk to them about how they can have success or prosperity in this world; and we don’t understand that this world is already under Your wrath and headed to terminal wrath and eternal wrath; and our job is to declare that Jesus and Jesus alone delivers from the wrath to come. May we be proclaiming the gospel. You must be so burdened, disappointed with so many so called Christians who are caught up in superficial things, trying to fix a careening world that can’t escape the inescapable absolute that what sinners sow leads to a harvest of corruption; and it accumulates, even as it did in Genesis when You drowned the whole world. You will not do that again; but the judgment will come and it will be by fire. And we would say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
But may we be faithful to proclaim the gospel. Not only are You a God of wrath, but You are a God of love who so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Grant that saving faith, we pray, for Your glory. Amen.
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