God's Righteous Acts

Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:55
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Have you ever been challenged by what God does or does not do?
We are called to worship God for his righteous acts.
The next two Sundays we are going to be taking a look at God’s righteous judgments. This will be difficult in many ways, so let us make the decision now to worship him for his actions.
Revelation 14:14-16.
Revelation 14:14–16 ESV
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.
What are the OT allusions for this passage?
The first OT allusion is Daniel 7:13-14.
Daniel 7:13–14 ESV
13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
This passage speaks of Jesus in the clouds and like a son of man.
There is a significant amout of debate as to whether this is Jesus himself in Revelation 14:14, or an angel who is representing him.
If you hold to a Mid or Post Tribulation view, depending on where you place this vision, you see two harvests here - one for the elect and one for the judgement of world. They draw this idea from Jesus talking about the harvest of the elect in the gospels.
I think that John is communicating that God is executing his judgement on the earth through the analogy of reaping a harvest. It reminds me of Galatians 6:7.
Galatians 6:7 ESV
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
This brings us to the second OT allusion, which is reaping the harvest as judgement in Joel 3:12-16
Joel 3:12–16 ESV
12 Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 16 The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.
This reaping, then, takes place at the culmination war of the Day of the Lord with Jesus return, defeating evil in Revelation 19:11-21.
Worship Yahweh, for his righteous act of reaping the harvest of the earth.
Revelation 14:17-18.
Revelation 14:17–18 ESV
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.”
Why does John define the angel in verse 18 as having authority over fire? We will explore this Wednesday night.
Why choose the harvest of grapes? Grape juice or wine represent blood. We are familiar with this analogy through Communion. Wine also represents God’s wrath. Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15.
Psalm 75:8 ESV
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.
Jeremiah 25:15 ESV
15 Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.
I am so glad we drink the wine representing the blood of the new covenant. Here though, those who appose God drink the wine of his wrath.
May we worship him for his righteous acts.
Revelation 14:19-20.
Revelation 14:19–20 ESV
19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.
Joel 3:13.
Joel 3:13 ESV
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great.
Revelation 19:15.
Revelation 19:15 ESV
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
A winepress was a basin carved out of stone with a drain to a vat to catch the juice as the grapes were trodden down and crushed. God’s winepress in the battle is outside the city of Jerusalem.
Are the dimension for the flow of blood to be taken literally, or is it symbolic of something else?
If it is literal, then the blood flow was 184 miles and 5 feet high. This seems unlikely unless you consider it as the splatter of gore.
The 184 miles is the approximate distance from Tyre in the north of Israel, to the border of Egypt. So these numbers could be representing the entirety of Israel.
If you like math, then you will like this answer: “The number 1,600 is the multiple of the squares of four and ten, both of which are figurative for completeness elsewhere in the Apocalypse. It could therefore be figurative for complete, worldwide judgment.”
“The number also could well have been thought of as the square of forty, a traditional number of punishment.”
G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 782.
However we interpret this, it communicates the severity and totality of God’s wrath.
May we worship him for his righteous acts.
Revelation 15:1.
Revelation 15:1 ESV
1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
This is the third sign in heaven. The other two are in Revelation 12 concerning the woman, Israel, and the dragon, Satan. This sign introduces the last of God’s judgement on the earth.
The wrath of God is finished with these plagues. The idea of finished brings my mind to John 19:30.
John 19:30 ESV
30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Here, the wrath of God was finished for all who believe in Jesus, for God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus upon the cross. Yet for those who do not believe, John 3:36 says:
John 3:36 ESV
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Will we believe and worship God for all his righteous acts?
Revelation 15:2.
Revelation 15:2 ESV
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.
The victorious stand beside the sea of glass, which we know is in the throne room of God from Revelation 4:6.
Victory in Jesus, my saviour forever. We are more than conquers through Jesus.
Why is John picking out the sea of glass, mingled with fire, as the defining setting for this scene?
Possibly John is calling his readers to remember the parting of the Red Sea, where God delivered Israel from Egypt. He also has delivered these saints from the beast and his ways. Both Egypt and Babylon carry with them the imagery of the beast from the sea of Revelation 13. If you want to explore that more, you could do a word study on Rahab and Leviathan, and listen to the last two Wednesday night studies on Behemoth and Leviathan.
We join the saints of heaven and worship God for his righteous acts.
Revelation 15:3-4.
Revelation 15:3–4 ESV
3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
There are two candidates for the song of Moses: Exodus 15:1-18 and Deuteronomy 32:1-43. Both of these songs are in agreement with what the saints are singing.
The saints are not just sing about God’s righteous acts through Moses. They are also singing the song of the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.
This song of worship is focused solely on God’s power and work. In our lives we need to discipline ourselves to focus on God, rather than ourselves. Here we have an example of exalting God for who he is, rather than what he has done for us.
God’s works are great, amazing, just, true and righteous. Do we believe that? Will we worship him?
Yahweh is God Almighty, King of the nations, alone Holy, worthy of all glory. Do we believe this? Will we worship him for who he is, fearing him and giving him all the glory?
Revelation 15:5-6.
Revelation 15:5–6 ESV
5 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.
The next vision is of the sanctuary of the tent of witness. John is calling his readers back to Exodus 38-39, the building of the Tabernacle, with this language. We know the tabernacle was a copy of the the heavenly one, as seen in Hebrews 8:5.
Hebrews 8:5 ESV
5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
The theme of the tabernacle continues with the garments of the angles, picking up on the idea of the garments of the priests of Exodus 39 who were serving in the tabernacle as these angels are serving in heaven’s tabernacle. Their clothes are pure and bright from being in the presence of Yahweh most holy.
May we worship Yaweh most holy.
Revelation 15:7-8.
Revelation 15:7–8 ESV
7 And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8 and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
The seven angels are give seven bowls of wrath of the eternal God. We will see these bowls of wrath poured out in judgement on the earth in Revelation 16. May we worship God for his righteous acts.
The theme of the tabernacle continues in verse 8 with the glory of God, calling the reader back to Exodus 40:34-35.
Exodus 40:34–35 ESV
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
We worship Yahweh Almighty, worthy of all glory and honor. Church, today and in the coming weeks may we worship him in spirit and truth for his righteous acts. Worship Yahweh Almighty!
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