Beyond Tribulation – Revelation 14:1-13 – Pastor Eric
2020 has been a turbulent year with COVID-19, shelter in place living, civil unrest, orange skies, wildfires, and a divisive presidential election. We all feel the stresses at home with distance learning, strained relationships, and the loneliness of isolation. This all makes us wonder, where is the hope and the comfort during this tribulation time.
Thankfully, the Bible is not silent about tribulation, and it speaks about what tribulation is and is to come. The Bible teaches us that there will be a literal seven-year period of time at the end of history called the Great Tribulation. It will be an extremely turbulent time with natural disasters, global warfare, political upheaval, martyrdom of the church, and the reign of the Anti-Christ.
But there is hope, for God has a greater redemption ahead with an eternity of bliss and everlasting joy. So, we can believe this central truth from Revelation 14 that Christ empowers the church to endure tribulation, for He will execute His eternal judgment and blessing.
Christ strengthens the church, you and me, to press on, for we know that He will bring about His perfect justice against evil in the end, and He will bring about His glorious victory in Heaven. Therefore, we need not be worried, be afraid, or be discouraged, for Christ strengthens us toward amazing things ahead.
(1) Be hopeful, for Christ rules and reigns both now and forever. Find your hope not in any man or any woman, not in any sovereign or president, but in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who runs the universe. Be encouraged that Christ is in control of your world and the entire world. (Revelation 14:1-5)
The Apostle John receives another eschatological, end time, vision given from God. For he beholds the Lamb of God standing upon Mount Zion in Heaven. John sees Jesus standing tall, victorious, strong, and powerfully in control, for He holds everything in His hands, even the tribulation period. God loudly proclaims His promise of salvation for all who follow after Him.
This is the eternal hope, for God has marked out every believer, and He has secured their election and salvation. This is the glorious hope of the gospel that God does and will rule and reign with blessing forever. Thus, our eternal hope must be found in the Commander of the Universe, Jesus Christ, for only He leads with perfect character, fairness, and goodness.
Our heavenly vision informs our earthly vision, so that no matter the next president, my hope rests in Jesus. You and I can be responsible to vote, but Christ is the one, who always has our hearts and our hope.
(2) Be assured that Christ will judge evil with an everlasting judgment. Be assured that Christ has already taken care of sin upon the cross, and He will judge and punish sin in the end. God is a holy, righteous, and just God who must deal with sin. God would not be loving if He never dealt with sin and evil. (Revelation 14:6-11)
In verses 6 to 11, John receives another heavenly message from several angels. The first angel shouts out a gospel call, “Fear God and give Him glory!” This call comes with a stern warning to be in awe of God and to revere God, for He is holy and just. This call is to give God glory. This is the ultimate purpose of every person created by God, for we are created to worship our Creator, not the created.
The second angel speaks of the problem of sin and its consequences. The angel references Babylon and teaches us that people’s sinful nature is to seek things on their own. The truth is that nobody can allude sin and it’s deadly and eternal consequences.
The third angel’s call is not about an eternal salvation, but it is about an eternal damnation. The angel addresses the worship of the beast and the Antichrist. If anyone follows the ways of Satan and the deception of sin, then sadly, they will drink the suffering cup, the cup that Christ drank on the cross, the wrath of God.
Their consequence is eternal separation from God, where Hell is a place of torment, burning sulfur and fire, and unending smoke, where you want to breath, but you can’t. It will happen over and over and over again. Not only is Hell a place of fire, but it will be a place without rest. It will be a place of ongoing weariness and loneliness, and you wish it to stop as your worst nightmare, but it will never cease.
We must understand this hard truth, because we never want anyone to ever experience Hell, not even our worst enemy. Sadly, this is what we deserve, because of our rebellion against God. But the good news of the gospel is Christ experienced this wrath on the cross for you and for me. We understand this eternal truth, because the hard reality of Hell helps us to appreciate the amazing reality of Heaven and God’s gift of grace.
Lastly, we must understand this eternal truth, because we can be assured God’s perfect justice will be done in the end. There is a great comfort and assurance that God will make right every wrong done in this world. And if you are going through a horrific injustice in your life right now, then you can find some solace in God’s eternal justice. You can be assured that God will execute His perfect righteous in the end to find His everlasting peace.
(3) Be steadfast, for Christ will secure His beloved in eternity. We can hold fast to God and His promises, for His ultimate and eternal promise will be fulfilled in Heavenly bliss. This is the everlasting confirmation and celebration that propels us to press on and to endure hardship. (Revelation 14:12-13)
Verse 12 is a call to steadfast allegiance for every Christian now and those who will go through the Great Tribulation. The Tribulation Christians’ allegiance to Christ will be tested under immense pressure and persecution. If they don’t surrender their allegiance to the Antichrist or the world, then they may lose their lives. But these Tribulation Christians will be steadfast in conviction and be committed to know that the cost of following Christ will be high, but the cost of not following Christ will be even higher and the Heavenly reward will be greater.
Can you say the same thing? Can you recognize there is a high cost to follow Jesus, but the cost of not following Jesus is higher? Can you say the prize of obeying Jesus is so much better to be with the Lord now and in the future?
Let us all resolve to be steadfast and to live a triumphant life, for we have found the greatest treasure in Jesus Christ and nothing can take Him away from us, not a disease, not a tribulation, and not even death.
For beyond tribulation, death is only a gateway to everlasting bliss, and while we wait, life is good and powerful, for Christ empowers each of us to press on and to be steadfast for we know the end is very good.
Praise Songs: This is Amazing Grace, Reign in Us, Blessed Assurance, Before the Throne of God Above, Doxology