Rev 6:15                   The Mighty Men on the Earth                              6/04/2017      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.      A Great Earthquake (Rev 6:12-14, Matt 27:51-52, Acts 2:20, Luke 21:25-26)     

 

 

 

 

#2.      The Effect of These Signs Upon People (Rev 6:15-17, 1John 4:18, Rev 14:11)

 

 

 

 

#3.      The Philistine Experience (1Sam 5:1-12 , John 6:37, Heb 2:3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 6:12 (2X). Last week we saw when Christ opened the fifth seal that God showed John, and He showed us also, the souls under the altar in heaven, of the martyrs who were slain for their witness of the Word of God and for the testimony which they held on this earth. Today we want to look at the contrast of the men on the earth who killed these witnesses. The witnesses were poor, feeble, defenseless, men and women, who were physically weak, and humble, but who were strong in their faith toward God. Those who ill treated them were physically strong, and rich, and mighty on the earth. They were so mighty that they did not need God. Therefore the title of the sermon today is, The Mighty Men on the Earth (2X). But where was their might, and their courage, when the Lord Jesus Christ showed up? It all evaporated in an instant. We read, when:

That is when this earth began to fall apart. Let us read this here in Rev 6:12-17,

Re 6:12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Re 6:13-14  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.        And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Re 6:15-16  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;                   And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Re 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

When Christ opened the fifth seal we saw a vision in heaven. When Christ opened the sixth seal we see a vision on earth. The vision in heaven was a symbolic vision. Literally there are no physical altars in heaven, and the souls in heaven are not crying under some kind of a bloody altar, but they are totally happy and in perfect bliss, and in the presence of God. But the vision on earth is a literal vision, which cannot be interpreted in a symbolic way at all. It would be an impossibility to describe things which happen in the physical universe in terms of symbolism. Let us also keep in mind that the opening of the fifth seal and of the sixth seal belong together, even though they are contrasts. Both these seals will be most fully revealed and realized immediately before the end of time. And the order is that the tribulation of the saints, which is mentioned in the fifth seal, is first; and the shakeup of the physical universe follows. This order is maintained in other parts of the Bible dealing with end-time phenomena. First there is the great tribulation, and immediately thereafter come the signs in the heavens and on the earth. For example, in Matt 24:29 the Lord Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”. First shall occur the great and final tribulation period, which shall be a tribulation only for the elect and which shall last a number of years, and then shall the Last Day come when the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. The same order is preserved in Luke 21:11-12 where the Lord Jesus speaks of these signs and wonders in heaven. “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake”. You can see that the complete realization of this sixth seal carries us to the time immediately before the coming of the Lord. Just as in our individual redemption the spiritual precedes the physical, so also in the redemption of the universe all the spiritual factors must first be ready and prepared. After that the physical universe will begin to show the full signs of its coming redemption. Nevertheless, we can see that the sixth seal has been opened ever since the time that John received this revelation. Is it possible that the 5th and the 6th seals were already in effect when the NT period of time began? Do you recall when Christ died that God gave signs resembling the signs of the end of the world? First we read

#1.      A Great Earthquake (Rev 6:12-14, Matt 27:51-52, Acts 2:20, Luke 21:25-26)

We read in Matt 27:51-52, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose”. The rent veil was exclusively only for the time when Christ died on the cross, for the rent veil indicated the end of the Ceremonial Law. But the earthquake and the bodily resurrection of many of the saints typified the phenomena on the Last Day when all the saints will be resurrected during the rapture. When Christ died the sun was darkened and that night the moon turned into a bloody red color because there was a moon eclipse that night. This has been verified by astronomical observations and back-calculations showing that there was a moon eclipse, visible from Jerusalem, on the evening of April 3, in the year AD 33. The Apostle Peter referred to these events when He quoted the prophet Joel, who prophesied of this day, saying in Acts 2:20, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come”. And when we read of the three hours of darkness over all the earth when Christ hung on the cross, this is equivalent to the expression that “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together”. Why did God orchestrate the events in such a way that when Christ died would be so much like the events on the Last Day? I believe God did that to show that there was only one day in all of history when sins were forgiven, and that was on April 3, in the year AD 33. On that day the guilt of all the sins of God’s elect were paid by the Lord Jesus Christ in full. And thus the number of people who must be saved was fixed. This is the number of saints who will be resurrected on the Last Day. Not one can be added and not one can be forgotten. And thus April 3, in the year AD 33, was as much Judgment Day as the Last Day of the world will be, and it involves the same number of people on both events. Now, when the text of Rev 6:12 reads that “the stars of heaven fell unto the earth” we should not try to imagine that stars the size of our sun shall fall upon the earth. A flea jumps unto a dog, but a dog does not jump unto a flea. The stars the text speaks about are “shooting stars”, or meteors, of which there are a great many in this solar system. Meteor showers have been witnessed many times in past centuries. But the sixth seal will not be completely realized until all these phenomena will have become completely universal. Earthquakes will occur on the entire surface of the earth. A darkening of the sun and a bloody appearance of the moon will be seen and will be lasting, not changing back to their normal appearance. And the heavens shall appear to be rolled together as a scroll. And then horror and consternation will spread upon all who have trampled under foot the blood of Christ and have persecuted His saints. We read in Luke 21:25-26, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”. Everything shall point to “Jesus is coming!”.

#2.      The Effect of These Signs Upon People (Rev 6:15-17, 1John 4:18, Rev 14:11)

Re 6:15-16  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;                   And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Re 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

We can see here that all classes of men are included, but that the strong and the mighty and the rich are mentioned up front and are predominating to a large degree. They are predominating, because it is exactly in their capacity as strong and rich according to the standards of the world that here they reveal their consternation. All classes of people are struck with fear. What they have in common is that they hated the Lord Jesus Christ. They certainly have never loved Him, as is evident in their fear, for we read in 1John 4:18, “perfect love casteth out fear”. They hated Him. They have rebelled against Him and against His Word. They have opposed Him. They have persecuted Him and His flock. They were the kings and the mighty ones in the world, those who were rich in money, who dominated the social world, the strong in physical power and the strong in authority, who dominated the political world. They used to win victories in battles. They were the strong in wisdom and learning, who denied the Christ in their worldly philosophy and who in their imagined strength have always laughed at the folly of the people of God who believed the Gospel. All these mighty men and wise men and rich men, according to the measures of the world, are now filled with terror. It is a terror so strong that they seek death, but they shall not find it. They know not what they are doing. They flee to the caves, but there is no help and no protection there. They flee to the mountains and to the rocks, but they find no refuge in them. And wherever they flee they see the signs of the Lord who is coming. These signs do not cause them to repent, for there is no forgiveness for them any more. The measure of their iniquity is full. Terrible in that day is the position of the ungodly. Terrible indeed is the Day of the Lord for them who have not feared His name. They had attempted to build up a kingdom of peace and happiness and freedom and prosperity, but they attempted to accomplish all this without Jesus Christ. They never believed that Christ was King. They never knew that He had the principle of His spiritual Kingdom already realized in the world and in the hearts of His people. They laughed at the idea that this world is in principle very wicked, and therefore heaven and earth would pass away. They supposed that the material stability of this universe was something they could depend on. But now the whole universe seems to pass away. It is beyond their comprehension. They are totally defeated.

When we read about Christ opening the fifth seal, and the horrible consequences upon all those who have remained unsaved, we are filled with awe and fear for our children, and for all those we know and hold dear. We wonder how it is possible that they all remained in unbelief. But the Word of God is unmistakable: they are still in rebellion against God, and they will be cast into Hell, “and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up forever and ever” (Rev 14:11). What is the root cause of their unbelief?

#3.      The Philistine Experience (1Sam 5:1-12 , John 6:37, Heb 2:3)

Let me take you to an example of the OT. Please turn to the prophecy of First Samuel. You find First Samuel after Judges, and after Ruth, in the first quarter of your Bible. 1Sam 5:1 (2X). The children of Israel did a foolish thing. They were doing battle against the Philistines and they decided to take the Ark of the Covenant with them to the battlefield. That is a long story, which we shall not get into today. God punished them for acting so foolishly. They lost the battle and the Ark of the Covenant fell into the hands of the Philistines. Then we read in 1Sam 5:1 (2X),

1Sa 5:1-2  And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.               When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.

1Sa 5:3  And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.

1Sa 5:4  And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.

1Sa 5:5  Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.

1Sa 5:6 ¶  But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. (“emerods” are “hemorrhoids”.)

1Sa 5:7  And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. (They still favor Dagon.)

1Sa 5:8  They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be

carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.

1Sa 5:9-10  And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.         Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.

1Sa 5:11  So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.

1Sa 5:12  And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

The cry of the city went up to heaven”. Does this mean they were praying? Yes indeed. But were they praying to God? No! They were not praying to the God of Israel, but they were praying to their own god, Dagon. How do we know this? We know this because the Lord Jesus said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Here is the puzzle that my human mind sees: Which God did the Philistines see and experience in this short period of six months? They came in contact with the God of Israel, the God whom the Bible describes as the only God in the entire universe. He is greater than their god Dagon. He is greater than any other perceived god, and thus He is the only one who must be worshipped. He is the One and only who will lift anyone up into heaven or will cast into Hell. He is the only One who must be feared, for He is a righteous Judge who will demand retribution for sin. And which human being is without sin? The Bible says, “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE”, and that includes newborn babies, and unborn babies, for they all are human beings in God’s sight. Woe unto us if we dare to rebel against Him. Woe unto us if we dare to ignore Him. Woe unto us if we dare to neglect Him, for we read in Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” We are in danger of Hellfire if we even neglect Him. Think about this when we neglect our Bible reading to only once a week in church. Think about this when we neglect to come to church on Sunday. Think about this when we resist to hear the words of the Ten Commandments. Think about this when we neglect to pray to Him. But why would anyone in his right mind neglect God? It is because they do not believe

Please turn in your Bibles to the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 2Pet 1:20 (2X). You find 2nd Peter toward the end of your Bibles, right after 1st Peter. We are in danger of Hellfire if we do not believe the words of Christ, for we read in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already”. Do you know why the Bible says “believe on Him” instead of “believe in Him”? It means that we must “believe Him”, rather than “believe in Him”. We must believe His words, rather than believe that Jesus walked in Palestine 2000 years ago. The NT says in three places, “Abraham believed God”, not “Abraham believed in God”. To believe in God is no credit to us at all. The devils also believe in God, and they tremble for the judgment to come. But what is important is this: Abraham believed what God has said. If we do not believe the words of Christ we are condemned already, and we are dangling above Hell by one rope, which will be cut when we die in this condition. Think about this condemnation when we do not believe that Jesus Christ is God, for we read in Col 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”. Think about this condemnation when we do not believe that God condemns homosexuality, because we read in Deut 23:17, “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel”. Think about this condemnation when we play around with the theory of evolution, for in doing so we effectively have done away with the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Where do we find the words of Christ? God says in Rev 19:13, “And His Name is called The Word of God”. The whole Bible is the Word of God, and the whole Bible identifies the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why His Name is called The Word of God. In other words, the whole Bible contains the words of Christ. This brings me to “The Authority of the Word of God”. Where in the Bible do we see this Authority? It is here in 2Pet 1:20-21, where we read that the words God spoke: 2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

First, no one should say of any passage of Scripture, “This is what it means to me, and thus for me this is the true meaning of God’s Word”. Have you not heard this many times? Nonsense! We may not have any private opinion of any passage, for “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation”, because it is not your own psyche who is speaking, but it is God who is speaking. And here is the reason: What was written did not come by the will of man, it did not come from the mind of the prophet, it did not come from the education or the experience of the prophet, it did not come from the cultural habits of those days, “but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. The mouths of holy men of God spoke the words God wanted them to speak, and the hands of holy men of God wrote the words God wanted them to write. The whole Bible, from beginning to end, are words from God that God intended to be read by future generations as “The Word of God”. God spoke these words and thus we must respect these words as if the roof had opened and God thundered these words to us. That is The Authority of the Word of God. And now God puts us to the test: Do we believe this? If we really believe this, then our actions must be accordingly, because we are and we act out what we believe. If our actions do not show this respect for the Word of God, then we have not believed God, and we have not believed Christ, and we are still under condemnation. For example: most people have a god who loves everybody and desires that everybody will be saved from Hellfire. But in the Bible we read in Rom 9:11-13 that God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”, and God said this when “the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil”. This certainly is a different God than the god who loves everybody. Which God will we choose? Another example: Most churches these days teach a gospel where God is patiently waiting for anyone to turn to Him in faith. When someone turns to Christ in faith, or accepts Christ in faith, then God saves that person. Their god is dependent on the will of man. But in the Bible we read in John 6:44, “No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. This certainly is a different God than the god who waits for people to respond. Which God will we choose? There are more examples of this kind. Most of the errors taught in other churches have to do with the sovereignty of God. They deny the sovereignty of God, whereas the Bible teaches that God is sovereign. This is the nature of the Almighty who created the heavens and the earth with everything in it for His glory. If we give a distorted image of God we would not be glorifying God, but we would be insulting God, claiming Him to be less omnipotent and less omniscient than He really is, according to the Bible. Which God will we choose? To me the answer is very clear: I choose the God who is portrayed in the Bible, and I want nothing of the other gods who are impotent compared to the God of the Bible. In fact, since Satan is the Father of lies (John 8:44), all those other gods were conceived through satanic powers, ruling over the minds of theologians, and giving them power over ruling bodies of the churches where the “Free-Will-Gospel” is preached. I cannot imagine that someone, confronted with the awesome characteristics of the God of the Bible, would decide to reject the God of the Bible and instead cling to his own impotent god, just for the sake of saving his own pride and saving his own self-worth or self-esteem. But this is what the majority of mankind does. I cannot understand it, but the Word of God gave me the example of:

Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 115:3 (2X). And look again at the example we have read in 1Samuel chapter 5. God did not cause any destruction in the Philistine camp the first two days that the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple of Dagon. God showed the Philistines that He is a much mightier God than Dagon was. The first night Dagon was lying prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant, as if he was worshipping the God of Israel. But since the Philistines could not believe their eyes the next night God showed that He killed Dagon by cutting off his head and his hands, since Dagon was a god who has hands but cannot handle anything. Let us read what God says in Psalm 115

Ps 115:3  But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Ps 115:4  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

Ps 115:5  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

Ps 115:6  They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

Ps 115:7-8 Theey have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.   They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

And here is the bottom line: “They that make them are like unto them”. They that make these false

gods have made gods that are like unto them. They cannot serve the God who says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:9). Such a great God is too uncomfortable to them. The Gospel of the Bible that we preach is nerve wrecking to them. And then they begin to invent all kinds of lies why the Gospel that we preach must be wrong. And then they spread the rumor that we are some sort of a cult, especially a hyper-Calvinistic cult. And then they have the perfect alibi to disbelieve anything that we say. But what have they done? They have done exactly what the Philistines in 1Sam 5 and 6 have done. They have seen with their own eyes what an awesome God the God of Israel is, and how small their own god Dagon is. But instead of worshipping now the God of Israel, they still protect their own idol Dagon and send the God of Israel back to where He came from. They want nothing to do with such a powerful and Almighty God. And you see, this is exactly what most people do when they visit us. They hear about the awesome God of the Bible, who says in Isa 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”. Wow! This is a different God than the god they told me about in the church I came from. And with the Bibles in our hands we show them black on white many more things that contradict the teachings they have received in their previous churches. Which God should they choose? Should they hang on to the powerless god that they have been accustomed to, and that they are comfortable with? Or should they now worship the God of the Bible? And guess what most of them choose. Like the Philistines they choose the god who is more like them, and they reject the God of the Bible, because He is so unbelievably sovereign, and He is so unbelievably righteous, and the Gospel of grace is so unbelievably FREE, that they are not comfortable being in the presence of this Almighty God who has such an unbending will and purpose, all the way from the foundation of the world. Even though they see it black on white in their own Bibles, they cannot believe that they have been wrong for 40 years. You see, that is nothing else than dumb rotten pride. But how can anyone let this pride go? It is only by the grace of God that we will let this pride go in favor of the God with whom we have come in contact. This is exactly what I experienced in 1970, when I was confronted with the God of the Bible and with the Gospel of grace. I was 40 years old then, born and raised in the Roman Catholic religion, and I had to admit that I was wrong for 40 years. I could see clearly that the Roman Catholic Church was a satanic church, for they preach a gospel of works, and not of grace. Only by the grace of God could I admit that all my previous years were wasted in that church, because the god they worship has no power. But all those who have seen the God of the Bible, and have turned away from Him, are like the Philistines. Is this sin? Absolutely it is sin! But God is not the author of their sin. Even though God has not given them the grace to repent and turn to Him, God is not the author of their sin. They sin voluntarily. In this they have exercised their own free-will, but that is all the free will that they possess. And thus, because they have sinned voluntarily, that is why God can justly cast them into Hell. This then leads us to

Please turn again to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 6:15 (2X). All these mighty men have led a life in the absence of Christ. Have they not heard about Christ? Yes they have, but like the Philistines they have preferred their own idols over the God of the Bible. You see, the God of the Bible demands that they go to church every Sunday, instead of playing ball, and that they consider unacceptable. Is it not amazing that the worship of Baal held on so tenaciously for at least 1200 years? Every idol that wants to replace the God of the Bible is called Baal. And is it not amazing that Ball is so much like Baal? I can confidently say that anyone who lets a game of Ball replace our time of worship of Christ on Sunday is worshipping Baal. Yes, this too is a sin that needs to go. But the mighty men on the earth do not worry about this. They live their life away from the God of the Bible, for they have confidently chosen not to worship the only true God. They don’t need God. They made that choice voluntarily, because they do not believe The Authority of the Word of God. And this brings me back to the root cause of their unbelief. The root cause of their unbelief is that those mighty men on the earth do not believe the authority of the Word of God. And the reason why they do not believe the Word of God is that God never gave them the desire to trade in their ball games and their RV’s, and their boats, and their time of relaxation for time to worship the God who created them. But when the Last Day of this earth’s existence has arrived, then they will realize that they have not glorified the God who made them for His glory. But then it is too late. They will realize that the great day of the wrath of the Lamb has come, and who shall be able to withstand Him. Suddenly these mighty men are not so mighty any more. We read in Rev 6:15, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains”. The text says, “every bondman”, and “every free man”. Where are the saints? It means that the saints have been raptured a moment earlier. God will rapture the saints to keep them out of the fire. God gave us the analogy when Lot and his two daughters were rescued out of Sodom and were led to safety in the city Zoar. God said in Gen 19:22, “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither”. Blessed are they who in that day belong to the Lord and are in Zion! It is in full harmony with this that the Lord Jesus has said in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”. And Jesus said in John 16:33 these comforting words, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.