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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Praise of The Resurrected
and Raptured Martyrs


< Revelation 14:1-20 >

"Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.' And another angel followed, saying, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.' Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.' Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.' Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, 'Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.' So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs."



Exegesis

Verse 1: Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads.

This is about the born-again saints, who were resurrected and raptured after their martyrdom by the Antichrist, praising the Lord in Heaven. The saints who were martyred by the Antichrist and the saints who were asleep would now be in Heaven, praising the Lord with a new song. In verse 4 we see that 144,000 sang this new song. You might wonder, then, whether the raptured would amount to only 144,000 people. But number 14 here means that all things have changed (Matthew 1:17).

We must realize that after the martyrdom and rapture of the saints, the Lord will change this present world into a whole new world. Instead of this world, our Lord will build a world in which He will live with His people. This is the will of the Creator.

Those who praise the Lord in Heaven are those who have become saints by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Christ while on this earth. As such, on their foreheads are written the names of the Lamb and of the Father, for they now belong to Christ.


Verse 2: And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.

The saints in Heaven are those who were martyred to defend their salvation given by the Lord and their faith in the fact that the Lord alone is their God, and who were thereafter resurrected. Because their bodies were resurrected and they were raptured by the Lord's power, they are praising Him in Heaven for His salvation and His blessing of giving them authority. The sound of their praise is as beautiful as the sound of flowing currents, and as majestic as thunders. All of them have been saved eternally from their sins through the redemption of their sins by believing, while on this earth, in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord.


Verse 3: They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

The 144,000 people here refer to the raptured saints. In the Bible, the number 14 means a new change. Those who can praise the Lord with a new song in Heaven are those who have been transformed while on this earth by receiving the remission of sin and being born again through their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why the Lord says here that they were 144,000.

Apart from them, there is no one else who can praise the Lord for His blessing of redemption through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our Lord is thus being praised by those whose sins have been forgiven by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and who have received the Holy Spirit as their gift.


Verse 4: These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

The saints are the ones who have not defiled their faith with any worldly power or religions. There are many people in this world who easily change their faith. But for those who have become saints by believing in the Lord's baptism and His blood on the Cross, and by thus receiving the remission of their sins, their faith can never be changed for anything in this world.

The saints who ascend into Heaven and praise the Lord are the ones who have unchangingly kept the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord and defended their faith. As such, the ones who can praise the Lord in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are raptured by the Lord for their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

In the middle of verse 4 is written, "These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes." You must realize that those who have been cleansed of their entire sins all at once through their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must, after thus being born again, follow the Lord wherever He leads them. Because they have received the remission of their sins, in their hearts is found the willingness to follow the Lord in joy wherever He leads them. In the end times, they therefore would be praising the Lord in Heaven, having been martyred by the Antichrist with their faith, and resurrected and raptured by the Lord.

It is also written, "These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb." Of the countless people living in this world, only a handful have been saved from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. This is why our Lord says in Jeremiah 3:14, "I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion." Those who have met the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received the remission of their sins are this few.

Because they belong to the Lamb, they would be the ones who receive the firstfruits of resurrection, who are raptured by the Lord's power, and who praise Christ forever, all as promised by the Lord. On this earth, too, they are the ones who follow the Lord wherever He leads them. All these are by the grace and power of God.


Verse 5: And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can preach this true gospel with their mouths. While there are many people today who are preaching the gospel in their own way, it is also true that only a handful of them are actually preaching the true gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Those who preach only Jesus' blood on the Cross are not preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. Why? Because no other gospel but the gospel of the water and the Spirit alone is the true gospel of the Bible. As all the sins in the hearts of the righteous have been taken away by the Word of the true gospel, they can preach this gospel with their mouths with full conviction.


Verse 6-7: Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."

The born-again saints must continue to proclaim the gospel of the water and the Spirit on this earth. This work of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, therefore, must continue on this earth until the very day of the saints' rapture.

Only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit would be martyred by the Antichrist to defend their faith, and they alone would thus be lifted up to the Kingdom of Heaven. Everyone must fear God, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby receive their remission of sin and the Holy Spirit as their gift. If today's Christians are unable to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord in thankfulness, their faith in Jesus would be all in vain.

The One who created the whole universe and all things in it is none other than Jesus Christ. As such, the mankind must recognize Jesus Christ as their God who created them and gave them their salvation with His forgiveness of their sins, and thus worship Him accordingly, for by His hands were all things made and are completed. By believing in His gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts, all the people can be forgiven of their entire sins and receive the blessing of having the Holy Spirit as their gift.

This world must now prepare to receive the judgment that Jesus Christ would render on those who stand against God. We must, of course, also prepare our faith that would soon be raptured by the Lord, for the day of the judgment of God is near us. The way to prepare for the rapture is to believe in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. Why? Because only by believing in His gospel of the water and the Spirit, one can receive the Holy Spirit, and, when the last days come, they would be clothed in the glory of being lifted up to the air by the Lord in their rapture.

As soon as possible, all the sinners must therefore believe in Jesus Christ as the God of creation and salvation, and worship Him accordingly. They must accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit into their hearts, and thus receive the grace of His redemption and the Holy Spirit as their gift. Those who worship God receive into their hearts the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord and do not reject it, for this is how they can worship God.


Verse 8: And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

This world will disappear by the fearful judgment of Jesus Christ. Because its religions are made of what are fundamentally false teachings, it will be destroyed by God. These worldly religions have made people follow the world more than God Himself, and used them as the instruments to stand against God. This world will thus be destroyed, because its people have left God and lusted after such worldly religions.

That they have followed the worldly religions means that they have followed the false gods, the demons. God will therefore destroy this world in His wrath. Everything in this world and all its false religions will be brought down by God, and shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. As such, those who stand against God, as well as the demons that live like parasites attached to the worldly religions, will all fall down by the plagues of God and be thrown into eternal hell.


Verse 9-10: Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb."

God warns everyone here, saying that if anyone worships the Beast and his image, or receives his mark on the right hand or the forehead, he/she will receive the punishment of hell. Working through many people, Satan will coerce the whole mankind to worship the idol made after the image of the Antichrist, but those who are born again will fight against the Antichrist and be martyred to defend their faith. The born-again saints must, to defend their faith, thus stand against the Antichrist and be martyred.

If anyone, surrendering to the Antichrist, bows down before his image and receives the mark of his name or number, he/she will garner the wrath of God that would throw him/her into the eternal lake of fire and brimstone. When the time of the Tribulation comes, the saints must pray to God, defend their faith in the Lord, and place their hope in His Kingdom. And by believing in Jesus Christ, they must stand against the Antichrist and defend their faith, join in their martyrdom, resurrection, and rapture, and thus receive the eternal blessing of dwelling with the Lord in His Kingdom.


Verse 11: And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

Those who worship Satan as God will be given His plagues and the torment of eternally restless hell. Whoever surrenders to the Antichrist in the end times and worship his image as God will be tormented in the lake of fire and brimstone filled by the wrath of God. We must all believe that anyone who follows the Beast and his image, and anyone who receives the mark of the Beast, will have no rest day and night.


Verse 12: Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

As the saints believe in all the wealth, glory, and blessing that the Lord has promised them, they must persevere through in patience. They must persevere through the time of the Tribulation, too. The promise that the Lord has made to the saints of the end times is that He would bestow on them the blessing of living with Him after their martyrdom, as, together with their resurrection by the power of the Lord, they are lifted up to Heaven.

The saints thus persevere because they believe in this blessing that would allow them to enter the marriage supper of the Lamb with the Lord, reign with Him for a thousand years, and always live with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. When the end times come, the saints therefore need to be martyred to defend their faith. They must persevere through all the tribulations of the time in patience.

The saints who are now living in the present era must, when the Antichrist demands them to betray their faith with his threats, pressures and enticements, nevertheless embrace their martyrdom, believing in the Lord's promises. Why? Because shortly thereafter, all the blessing of our Lord would be fulfilled just as He promised us. All the saints can receive their rewards only by keeping their faith in the Word of God and in the Lord. Therefore, keep your faith in the Word of the Lord. God will welcome the saints who have thus defended their faith in His Word and in Jesus Christ into His whole new world.

There is a plenty of reasons as to why the saints who serve the Lord's gospel must persevere through all the difficulties of the time of the Tribulation in patience. For a better in the future, there is a need to bear with the present suffering in patience.

Romans 5:3-4 tell us, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." The saints who can persevere through the Great Tribulation by believing in the Lord will live a life of blessings, receiving their resurrection and rapture from Him and reigning in His Kingdom. As such, we must all persevere through the Tribulation with our faith. By keeping their faith in the Lord, the saints can truly persevere through the Great Tribulation of the end times. The saints believe in all the things that the Lord would fulfill for them in both this world and Heaven.


Verse 13: Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

The verse says here, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." Why? Because when the time of the Tribulation comes-that is, when the Antichrist rules over the world-every sinner then living on this earth would all be destroyed. The saints must therefore look to the coming Kingdom of Christ, defend their faith, and embrace their martyrdom of faith. Those who are martyred to give glory to the Lord are blessed, and as such, they must embrace their martyrdom to defend their faith.

The Lord will then take care of such saints, allowing their resurrection and rapture to lift them up to His Kingdom. All the labors of the saints on this earth would then end, and they will instead live enjoying their rewards given by the Lord. At this time, all the saints will have the joy of reigning with the Lord and of eternal life, and the wealth and glory of the His Kingdom will be theirs forever.

This is why those who are martyred in the end times to defend their faith are so blessed, for they will live with the Lord in all the wealth and glory of His Millennial Kingdom and the His eternal Kingdom of Heaven forever. To those who do not surrender to the Beast and defend their faith in the Lord, God will give the blessing of reigning with the Lord forever.


Verse 14: Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

This verse tells us that the Lord will return to rapture the saints. Because the Lord is the Master of the saints, He will resurrect the saints who will have been martyred to defend their faith and lift them up to the Kingdom of God in rapture. In the time of the Great Tribulation, the rapture will most certainly come to the saints.


Verse 15: And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

This Word refers to the completion of the saints' rapture by the Lord. Time-wise, the rapture will happen after the martyrdom of the saints. The Lord will allow the rapture to the saints who are asleep then, together with the saints who are martyred. The completion of the saints' faith is found in their salvation, martyrdom, resurrection, rapture, and eternal life. The time of the saints' rapture is after their martyrdom with the persecution of the Antichrist, and is simultaneous to their resurrection.


Verse 16: So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

This verse, too, refers to the saints' rapture. Rapture means the lifting of the saints up to the air. Does this then mean that the saints would be lifted up to the air, and then descend down to the earth with the Lord? But of course! After the saints are raptured, our Lord will destroy the earth, the sea, and all that is in them by pouring the plagues of the seven bowls, and after thus destroying the world, He will descend on to this earth together with the raptured saints.

Then, the Lord and His saints will reign on this earth for a thousand years, and when the marriage supper of the Lamb is over, they will ascend into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. When the saints join the Lord in the marriage supper of the Lamb, the Lord would have already renewed the whole world and all things in it.

After their rapture, the saints will stay in the air with the Lord for a while, and when the plagues of the seven bowls are all over, they will come down to the renewed earth to reign with Him for a thousand years. They will then enter into the Kingdom of God with the Lord, and live with Him forever.


Verse 17: Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

The angel that appears here is the angel of judgment. This angel will bring down great plagues on the people of the world who have stood against God, and throw them into the eternal fire. His duty is to throw and bind, together with the Antichrist and his servants, all the sinners of the world who have not been born again yet into the bottomless pit.


Verse 18: And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe."

This Word tells us that the time has now come for the sinners to be judged by God for their sin of standing against Him. In God's times are the hours of His plans' implementation. To give the sinners His judgment of fire, God will gather together all the sinners and all those who had stood against God, and punish them accordingly.


Verse 19: So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

This Word shows us that after the rapture of the saints, the Antichrist and the sinners would suffer greatly under the plagues of the seven bowls. On this earth, too, God will bring His wrath to the sinners by unleashing His fearful plagues on them, and then follow this with the punishment of hell. The plagues that God would thus pour on these sinners, the Antichrist and his followers are His righteous wrath. This is God's providence for the sinners who stand against Him.


Verse 20: And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

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The verse here tells us just how harsh the punishment of the wrath of God and its suffering would be to those who still remain on this earth, both men and living creatures, brought by the plagues of the seven bowls poured on them. It also tells us that these plagues will ravage throughout the entire world. When the saints are martyred, resurrected, and raptured, from this moment and on, the wrath of the plagues of the seven bowls will be brought down altogether, and thus ending everything.

No one except the saints in Heaven and the angels who have stood on God's side will escape from these fearful plagues. For those who stand against God, on the other hand, only the punishment of hell would wait. In contrast, by then the born-again saints would find themselves in the feast of the marriage supper with the Lord in the air, thanking and praising Him for His salvation. From then on, the saints will live with the Lord forever in His eternal blessings.

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