Voices From Heaven

Steve Viars April 10, 1990

- we've been studying the second half of the tribulation

  period, sometimes referred to as the great tribulation

- last week we talked about about the unholy trio - Satan,

  the Antichrist, and the false prophet

- we said that this group tries to substitute themselves for

  the real trinity

- they even set up an image of the antichrist and demand that

  individuals worship the image of the beast

- those who do will be given a mark of the beast which

  permits them to buy and sell--those who won't worship the

  beast will be severely persecuted

 

- we concluded our time reminding ourselves that John said

  that the antichrist spirit (attitude) is alive and well

  today

- Satan loves to use that substitute method where people

  worship and serve someone or something other than the true

  God

- we even talked about a number of the things that he has

  substituted in place of a right relationship with God

 

- its important for us to keep that context in mind as we

  move into these next verses because they help us understand

  why these verses are arranged the way they are

 

- let's look at the voices from heaven (read 14:1-5)

- the passage talks about:

 

I.  Voices of the 144,000

 

    A.  Who they were

 

    INPUT - how does the passage describe them?

 

        1.  hadn't been defiled with women (not that physical

            relations in marriage are dishonorable - the

            writer of Hebrews made sure we understood that -

            Heb.  13:4)

 

        2.  followed the Lamb wherever he went

 

        3.  redeemed from amoung men

 

        4.  first-fruits unto God

 

        5.  no guile - without fault

 

           - so these are the 144,000 sealed witnesses who

             are now in heaven

 

           - INPUT - what does the passage say they are

                     doing?

 

 

 

    B.  What they did

 

        - sang a new song before the throne

 

        - INPUT - why do you think God wanted this

                  information to directly follow the chapter

                  we studied last week about the unholy trio?

                  (to communicate that while many had fallen

                   for the "unholy trio's" deception, not

                   everybody had)

 

        - it could be pretty easy to get discouraged thinking

          about all those who will worship the antichrist and

          reject the savior, but God puts that in balance

          when he remindes us that even then there will be

          those with a different song in their mouths

 

        - we need to hear that

        - because people who believe in Christ and believe

          the Bible are clearly in the minority

        - you may be the only believer in your office

        - or the only believers in your neighborhood or in

          your family

        - you look all around and see those who are following

          the antichrists, the "instead of's", the things

          substituted for a personal relationship with Christ

 

        - if we're not careful, we'll fall into the Elijah

          syndrome (I'm the only one who cares about living

          for God - what's the use) - God had to tell Elijah,

          "I've got seven thousand who haven't bowed the knee

           to Baal"

 

        - thats encouraging to know that there are others who

          are battling in their area of ministry and standing

          for God

 

        - thats one of the great things about being in a

          church

        - on those days when you feel discouraged you can

          say, wait a minute, Mr. "so & so" is handling a

          tough situation and he's staying faithful

        - Mrs. "so & so" is facing a real trial and she's

          staying faithful - I better stay faithful in my

          area of ministry

 

        so even though the tribulation will be filled with

        individuals bowing and worshipping the Antichrist,

        there will be a host in heaven singing a different

        song

 

- now the passage is going to shift to some different voices

  in heaven -

  

II.  Voices of the Angels  

 

    - read 14:6-7

 

    A.  Judgement is coming

 

        - while it is our job to share the gospel today, in

          the tribulation there will also be some angels

          charged with spreading the gospel of Christ and the

          judgement that is coming to those who won't trust

          Christ

 

    - read 13:8

 

    B.  Babylon is fallen

 

        - we'll study more about Babylon in coming weeks.

          This is the name given to the world system the

          antichrist constructs.  We'll study this in more

          detail when we get to Rev. 18

 

    read 13:9-10

 

    C.  escape God's wrath

 

        - another angel is summoned to tell the people of the

          world not to take the mark of the beast because of

          the wrath of God that is coming quickly

 

    last angel in this chapter comes in verse 14

 

    - read 14-16

 

    D.  the harvest is ripe

 

        - the final part of the vision pictures Christ as a

          reaper where the harvest is ripe

 

        - usually harvest in the Bible is the picture of

          winning lost people to Christ, but here the picture

          is of terrible judgement, where in the final battle

          of Armageddon, those who followed the antichrist

          will be destroyed

 

        - John even uses hyperbole when he writes in verse

          20

 

        - you look at that and say - thats shocking

        - in fact, its the second shock in as many chapters

 

        - at the end of 13, John told us about the

          abomination of desolation, and how people would

          actually be worshipping the antichrist, and about

          the mark of the beast

 

        - now he turns right around and shows us this graphic

          picture of God's judgement at the end of the

          tribulation

 

        - but John is about to do the same thing he did

          before

        - after telling us about the Antichrist - he

          immediately switched to the heavenly scene of the

          144,000, to put that shock of the Antichrist in

          perspective

 

        - thats exactly what he does at the beginning of

          chapter 15

        - because there are some more voices from heaven

 

        - and look how their testimony puts this graphic

          picture of judgement in perspective

 

- read 15:1-4

 

III.  Voices of the Redeemed

 

    A.  who they were

 

        had gotten victory over:

 

        1. the beast

 

        2. his image

 

        3. his mark

 

    B.  what they are doing

 

        - singing the song of Moses

        - just like the Israelites had been delivered by the

          blood of the lamb smeared on their doorposts

            - afterward the Egyptian army was overthrown in

              the sea

        - the Israelites stood on the shores of the Red Sea

          and sang the song of Moses

              - "The Lord is my strength and song, and he has

                 become my salvation"

 

       - now in another period of time, some of God's people

         have been delivered from judgement, and so while

         that judgement is being described in chaper 14, its

         important to put it in perspective with what these

         believers are singing about in chapter 15

 

       - in fact, I think a good title for this parenthetical

         section would be - "but there are the believers..."

 

       - yes, you have the antichrist, and his image, and his

         mark in chapter 13

           - and a person who didn't know God might get

             pretty discouraged about the way evil seems to

             be triumphing

 

       - but there are the believers - in chapter 14, singing

         a new song before the throne, the first fruits among

         men

 

       - yes, you do have this vision of Armageddon at the

         end of chapter 14, and the and the heavy judgement

         that will be meeted out at the very end of the

         tribulation

            - and the person who doesn't know God might say,

              thats pretty severe punishment

 

       - but there are the believers in chapter 15, reminding

         all who will listen that God's works are great and

         mighty, just and true

        - see, in a time like the tribulation where the truth

          of God could surely be skewed, there are the

          believers -- who live lives and have testimonies

          and sing songs that show forth the truth of God

 

        - Can I ask you tonight - is that kind of ministry

          needed today?

 

        - you bet it is - surely we live in a day where the

          truth of God is skewed

 

        - in fact, this very week is perhaps the week where

          God's truth could potentialy be skewed the most

 

        - do you know why I say that?

 

        - easter, the day set aside to comemorate Christ's

          resurrection - is more potentially dangerous to

          satan and his host than any other day of the year

 

        - if individuals truly understood the purpose of

          Easter and the resurrection, they would be a

          significant step toward understanding salvation

 

        - so its not surprising that the world has produced

          all kinds of ways to cover over or skew God's truth

          about this special day

 

        - and some folks will be so caught up in the easter

          egg hunt, and the chocolate bunnies, and getting a

          reservation for lunch

               - that the truth of the ressurection could be

                 completely missed

 

 

        - but hopefully, just like in these chapters we've

          studied tonight, then there are the believers

        - they have a different song in their hearts and on

          their lips

 

        - they have looked for and they have found creative

          ways to share the truth of the resurrection

 

        - people all around have the option to believe the

          truth of God if they choose because the believers

          around them have been faithful in proclaiming that

          truth

 

        - I don't know about you--but I can't think of a

          better place to be on Friday night and Sunday night

          than right here at the Easter Drama Musical

 

    - Sure, there are hundreds and thousands of things

          the world would have to offer to detract from the

          meaning of Easter

 

            - but then there the believers:

                 - who are trying to live under the shadow of

                      the cross

                 - are trying to proclaim the message of the

                      cross

                 - and have been inviting folks to come hear

                      the truth of the cross

                 - have been praying that folks would receive

                      salvation because of the cross

 

    - because of that - the believers are singing a different

       song - the song is - Jesus Christ is risen, and he

        liveth forevermore

 

        - see, I think the question we need to ask tonight

          is:

             - what would have happened if my life or your

               life was substituted in these chapters?

 

            

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video