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Sermon #2228 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Great Revival
Text: Revelation 11:1-19
Subject: Judgment and Revival
Date: Sunday Evening — May 31, 2015
Readings: Bobbie Estes and Larry Brown
The title of my message tonight is — The Great Revival. But, before I get to my text in Revelation 11, some things must be said. As I have told you many, many times, I do not look upon those things the religious world points to as signs of revival as being signs of revival, but signs of satanic delusion. Those so called “great revivals” of the past should be looked upon with great suspicion, if they are identified not by the message preached but by the reactions of men to religious frenzy.
Let me be clear. —— I read a book this week that pointed to evidences of great revival, great movings of God the Holy Ghost. Here are some of the evidences of revival given in that book.
· Convulsive Weeping
· People Carried out on Stretchers
· People Committed to Insane Asylums — Some Permanently!
I find nothing like that even remotely connected with the worship of God in Holy Scripture. The prophets of Baal worked up such foolishness (1 Kings 18), but not the prophets of God! I do not say there have been no great revivals. There have been.
· The Reformation – (Luther and Calvin)
· The Great Awakening – (Whitefield and Edwards)
· The Sovereign Grace Movement – (Pink, Barnard, and Mahan)
If you read the Scriptures, you will find that revival always involved four things.
· A Return to the Word of God!
· The Re-establishing of the Worship of God!
· The Tearing Down of Idols!
· Sodomites Houses Destroyed and Sodomites Banished!
If I have read this Book correctly, right smack dab in the middle of that period in which God turns Satan loose on the world, right in the middle of that little season immediately preceding the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, there will be a time of great revival. I know that many of my preacher friends think I am delusional about this, but I believe we are living in the midst of a great revival, perhaps the great revival described in the 11th chapter of the Book of Revelation.
Proposition: Though Satan is loosed to again deceive the nations of the earth with the delusions of Babylon’s idolatry (Arminian, freewill/works religion), God the Holy Ghost has resurrected, and is resurrecting, the preaching of the Gospel all over the world. — That is the message of Revelation 11.
· 400 Discovering Christ Commentaries to Burma
· 31 Pallets of Discovering Christ Commentaries to Africa
Hold your Bible open at Revelation chapter 11. — Throughout the book of Revelation, we are repeatedly assured of three facts:
· Our Redeemer is in total control of the universe.
· The Church and Kingdom of God is safe.
· And the people of God will be triumphant in the end.
There is a reason for these often repeated assurances. — It often appears that we are losing ground, and that our defeat is inevitable. Revelation 11:1-14 assures us of the safety and ultimate triumph of Christ’s church, though at times it appears that her defeat is certain. In this chapter God the Holy Ghost tells us what will happen during those days just before Christ’s second coming.
In Revelation 8:13 John saw an angel flying through heaven, and heard him say with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth!”
· The first woe is described as a plague of locusts coming up out of hell and spreading over the earth (9:1-12). This plague of locusts symbolically represents the universal spread of false religion that must come in the last days. This plague of locusts is that strong delusion which God is sworn to send upon a generation of religious people, who receive not the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
· The second woe of judgment, according to John's vision (9:13-21), is set before us as a terrible time of war, such as the world has never seen. In this war, one third of the earth's population will be killed.
Then we have a word of assurance to comfort and sustain our hearts. In chapter 10, John saw the Lord Jesus standing as universal Monarch over the earth and the sea, ruling everything precisely according to the book of God's eternal purpose. I remind you of those three sweet assurances we are given repeatedly in the Book of Revelation.
· Our Redeemer is in total control of the universe.
· The Church and Kingdom of God is safe.
· And the people of God will be triumphant in the end.
The Lord our God takes great care to comfort and assure his elect that victory is sure. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us and gave himself for us. The gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church. We shall, in the end, tread upon the neck of Satan and triumph over all our enemies.
Here in chapter 11, we are given a description of God's final act of judgment before the final destruction of the earth. Our text for this evening is Revelation 11:1-14. Here again, we are assured of the safety and triumph of God's Church, though for a time her defeat appears to be certain. —— In these verses the Lord shows us what will happen in those days just before the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.
(Revelation 11:1-14) And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (2) But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. (3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (4) These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (5) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (6) These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (7) And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (8) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (9) And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (10) And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. (11) And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (12) And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (13) And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (14) The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. (15) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, (17) Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (18) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (19) And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
It is impossible for us to tell where we fit in prophetic picture before us. I will not pretend to know. But of this I am sure: The world has never before seen such days of spiritual darkness and religious deception as the darkness and deception of the day in which we are living. The darkness and deception of this day is so great that, were it possible, even the elect people of God would be deceived. And darker days than these are coming!
Divisions: We will go through these fourteen verses consecutively. As we do, I will call your attention to four things in the passage:
1. The Measuring of The Temple (vv. 1-2).
2. The Lord's Two Witnesses and Their Testimony (vv. 3-6).
3. The Death of The Two Witnesses and The Joy of The World (vv. 7-10).
4. The Revival of The Two Witnesses and Their Final Triumph (vv. 11-14).
First, we read about the measuring of the temple in verses 1 and 2.
(Revelation 11:1-2) And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (2) But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Of course, this is a symbolical picture. To seek, as many do, a literal interpretation of the things written in this chapter, is to miss its message altogether. John was commanded to measure the temple of God (v. 1). Specifically, he was commanded to measure the sanctuary, containing the holy place and the holy of holies, “the altar, and them that worship therein.” This temple represents the Church and people of God, all those in whom Christ dwells by his Spirit. All true believers, worshipping God in spirit and truth are measured, protected, and sealed. The Lord did not command John to measure the size of the temple, as though he needed information, but simply to measure, or mark out for protection, the people of God. That is what this measuring means. Though God will inflict his judgments of wrath upon the wicked, persecuting world, his Church is safe. Though God’s saints suffer with the world, they shall not perish with the world. God’s elect are protected against eternal doom.
How do we know that this is the meaning of John’s vision?
· First, the temple of God in the Old Testament was a type of the Church, which is frequently called the temple of God in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16-17; Ephesians 3:21).
· Second, the temple of God is here defined as the holy place and holy of holies, the inner sanctuary, where none but the priests of God were allowed — “the altar, and them that worship therein.” We who believe are God’s “royal priesthood,” worshippers in the holy place, offering up spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise to him through Christ Jesus (1 Peter 2:5, 9).
· Third, the measuring of the temple in Ezekiel’s vision was for the same purpose as in this vision. — It was for the protection of God’s sanctuary, to separate the precious from the vile (Ezekiel 40:3-5; 22:25-26).
The outer court of the temple was not to be measured (v. 2). God’s special care and protection does not extend to those who are believers in name only. This “court which is without the temple” represents all false religion and all false professors of religion. This outer court is to be trampled under the feet of the heathen precisely because God is determined to destroy all false religion. The world invades the false church and possesses it. Worldly religionists welcome the ideas and principles of the world. They feel perfectly at home in the world. They are of the world; and the world loves its own. Even in the New Testament era, the true people of God were plagued with men and women in their midst who were governed and motivated by the principles and religion of the world. This condition of worldliness in the church will continue throughout the gospel age, represented by the time of 42 months.
Second, the Lord God tells us about his two witnesses and their testimony in verses 3-6.
(Revelation 11:3-6) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (4) These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (5) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (6) These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Many conjectures have been made as to who these two witnesses are. But the context appears to indicate that these witnesses are another representation of the Church of God. Throughout the Gospel Age, the Church has been represented in the world by her two witnesses — pastors (elders) and evangelists (missionaries). The church functions as an organization through its pastors and missionaries, those who preach the gospel. These witnesses carry out their work for 1260 days. That is another symbolic figure. It represents a definite, long period of time, but an unknown (to men) period of time. This 1260 days, like the 42 months of verse 2, represents the whole Gospel Age, from Christ’s ascension to his second coming.
Notice the characteristics of these two witnesses, as they are represented in John’s vision.
· First, those men who preach the gospel are, under God, the means by which his grace is bestowed upon his elect (v. 4). — Like olive trees, they bring forth the oil of grace, the blessings of the Spirit, and the light of the gospel (Romans 10:13-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
· Second, God’s servants are under his special care and protection (v. 5). It is written, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22). That which is done to Christ’s Church and his witnesses is done to him (Matthew 10:40; Acts 9:4). And, just as Jeremiah’s enemies were condemned by his word, those who oppose God’s kingdom today shall be condemned by the gospel we preach (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
· Third, those who preach the gospel, as spokesman for Christ and his church, have power with God and power over men (v. 6; 1 Kings 17:1; Exodus 7:20). This power is not absolute; but it is real (Luke 10:3-12). Not only does God judge men according to the prayers of his afflicted people (Revelation 8:3-5), but he also judges them according to the gospel we preach (Matthew 16:19; John 20:21-23; Romans 2:16).
· Fourth, they shall finish their testimony (v. 7). God’s church and his servants will fulfill their mission in this world. The gospel shall be preached throughout the world. All the elect, having been redeemed by Christ, shall be brought to Christ. But this present gospel age shall come to an end. God’s church and his witnesses will finish their testimony (Matthew 24:14).
Third, in verses 7-10 John tells us about the death of God’s two witnesses and the joy of the world, celebrating it.
(Revelation 11:7-10) And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (8) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (9) And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (10) And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
The beast, the antichrist and his religion, the outer court religionists, will arise with hellish, worldwide power, and kill the two witnesses. That does not mean that all God’s saints and all true preachers will be killed, though many may be tortured and put to death by men who think they are doing God’s service (John 16:2). There will be true believers and true witnesses upon the earth when Christ comes again (Luke 18:8). The gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18). It must be remembered that the picture before us is symbolical, not literal. It simply means that there is a time appointed by God when the true Church of God and true gospel preachers will appear to be almost totally eradicated from the earth. Religion will thrive. But the Church of God will appear to be a dead corpse in the earth, altogether without life and power (Amos 8:11-12).
(Amos 8:11-12) Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: (12) And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
That is precisely what will happen just before our Lord’s glorious Second Advent. The voice of God’s Church will be smothered by the religion of antichrist. It will lie like a dead corpse on Main Street in the world. Sodom and Egypt, which crucified Christ, will again join forces to silence his church. For 3 1/2 days, a brief but definite period of time, the church in this world will appear to be dead. It will cease to have power and influence. The faithful will be so few that they cause no disturbance in the world. This will be a time of terrible trial and religious deception (Matthew 24:22-25; Revelation 20:7-9). This time of heresy and religious deception must come. God has ordained it (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Corinthians 11:19). And in this reprobate age, God’s elect are safe and have great reason for thanksgiving and praise (2 Thessalonians 2:13-16).
While the corpses of God’s two witnesses lie in the street, the world will throw a party (vv. 9-10). But their joy is premature. God is not finished yet. The end has not yet come. Christ has not yet turned the last page of the little book in his hand. Something else must take place...
Fourth, in verses 11-14 the Spirit of God tells us that at the end of the end there will be a time of great revival and that Christ and his witnesses, Christ and his Church will be gloriously triumphant!
(Revelation 11:11-14) And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (12) And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (13) And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (14) The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
There is a day appointed of God when the Church of God will be revived, when the servants of God will be heard, when the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ will again be declared with heavenly power. The dog of Rome and the peddlers of freewill will not party forever! God will send the Spirit of life into his Church again (v. 11). Just before Christ’s second coming, right in the midst of the great, wholesale apostasy described in 2nd Thessalonians 2, God will raise up his witnesses again! The Church of God will again be triumphant (vv. 11-12). When God’s church is revived again, as in the days of the Reformation and the Great Awakening, the religious world and the political world will be frozen with fear.
Then the end will come. A voice will be heard, as the voice of the archangel, saying, “Come up hither!” As the saints of God, both the living and the dead ascend in a cloud of glory to meet the Lord in the air, “their enemies behold them!” There is no secret, mysterious rapture here. This is talking about the glorious resurrection of the sons of God (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
In that same hour, God’s judgment will begin to fall upon the earth (v. 13). It appears that immediately preceding Christ’s appearing in judgment, there will be a great earthquake, perhaps a great series of earthquakes. Multitudes will be slain. Those who remain will be terror struck. Though they will not repent, they will give “glory to the God of heaven.”
Now the stage is set. This is the beginning of the end. “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (v. 14). Are you ready?
 Ezra (Ezra 9)
Asa (1 Kings 15)
Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22)
Josiah (2 Kings 23)