Revelation 11:14-19; Psalms 2:1-12
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the judgment upon the nations which accompany the seventh angel's trumpet. Dr. Johnson explains the modern equivalent of Scripture's reference to "the nations" or "the heathen."
[Message] For the Scripture reading today, we are going to read a passage from the Old Testament, because it bears very closely on the things that John writes in chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation. So if you will turn to Psalm 2, I am going to read through this Psalm. It’s a Psalm of twelve verses and each three verses is a separate division of the Psalm. It has often been commented by Bible expositors that one can think of the 2 Psalm as one does looking at a television program in which the cameras point to one situation and then in a few moments point to another and still another.
And so it has often been suggested that what we have is something similar here, because in the first three verses a television camera, spiritual camera, points to the world, and then in the forth through the sixth verses, the camera points toward the Father in heaven. And then in the seventh through ninth verses, the camera looks specifically at the Son. You’ll notice the statement in the seventh verse, “The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” And then finally in the last three verses, verses 10 through 12, the television camera points again to the individuals upon the earth and calls for decision in the light of what has been shown. So we’ll read through it now with that division in mind. The Psalmist writes,
“Why do the heathen rage,” (that is a reference to the nations, “Why do the nations rage”) “and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.’ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (or “the nations”) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
Now let’s turn over to chapter 11, and we’ll read verse 14 through verse 19 of the 11th chapter of the apocalypse. John writes in verse 14, “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world, The World Kingdom, of our Lord and His Messiah has come; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Now, I translated that verse as I was going along, translating it from my mind in case it doesn’t agree with either the Authorized Version, it doesn’t, or with your New American Standard Bible or your New International Version.
Well, I’m sorry you have an incomplete translation. I’ve just given to you how it should be rendered. Aren’t you happy over that? [Laughter] Actually, I started off reading one and then I realized I better translate it as it really is. “The World Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah has come to be, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” And the “he,” incidentally, is a reference to the Father. Now, the Father reigns through the Son, and so together they carry on the Messianic ministry. The 16th verse reads,
“And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast,” (now if you have an Authorized Version, you’ll also have “and art to come,” but that was clearly an addition made by scribes. Since the expression has occurred a couple of times previously, thinking that the manuscript they were copying surely must have had that edited. But it’s not genuine, it seems, and one of the reasons why you might know that is that these verses are written from a proleptic standpoint. In other words, they are written from the standpoint of the King having come. And so it is unlikely that the “art to come” is genuine. He continues) “because thou hast taken thy great power, and hast begun to reign. 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. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament:” (or “covenant”) “and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his word, and let’s bow together in a moment of prayer.
[Prayer] Our Heavenly Father, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we come to Thee. We give Thee thanks for the blessings of life. We thank Thee for the beautiful weather that Thou hast given to us, reminiscent of all of the blessings of the saving ministry that have come our way. We praise Thee for the forgiveness of our sins. We thank Thee for the justification of life in which we stand before Thee. We thank Thee for the presence of the Holy Spirit who directs our steps and guides our thoughts as we read and ponder the word of God. We are grateful for the light that Thou hast given to us. We remember the Scriptures which remind us that in Thy light, we shall see light. We thank Thee Lord.
We thank Thee for this day, the Lord’s Day. We remember our Lord who is our Savior and gave himself for us. How blessed we are. We thank Thee for the whole church of Jesus Christ and pray, Lord, Thy blessing upon every minister of the word of God today both in leadings of the church and in The Sunday schools who faithfully proclaims the Scriptures. May Thy blessing rest upon each exposition of Thy word.
We thank Thee too for this country in which we live, for the freedoms that we have. We recognize, Lord, that They are ultimately gifts from Thee, and we thank Thee. And, Lord, we would pray particularly for those who have requested our prayers, those whose names are in our calendar of concern. In the midst of the sufferings of the saints, give assurance of Thy care and concern.
We pray that Thou give encouragement and consolation and help to them. For others too, Lord, who are in the midst of various kinds of trials. We bring them before Thee, pray Thy blessing upon each one of them, and we thank Thee for the way in which Thou hast answered our prayers and glorified Thy name in the answers.
We ask Thy blessing now upon our service as we sing, as we listen to the Scripture. May our Lord be exalted in all that is said and done for Jesus sake. Amen.
[Message] The subject for today as we continue our exposition of the Book of The Revelation is “The Seventh Trumpet.” The 20th Century will be known, and still is known, as a century that is a slave to humanistic liberalisms, dogma of the inevitable progress of man. History is the record, as it has been said, of man’s steady, if painful, rise from the slim to civilization which has shown an unbroken advance in morality, justice, and goodness.
Perhaps the classic expression of this was the expression of the French mathematician, Condorcet. He expressed it as follows, “The result of my work will be to show you, by reasoning and by facts, that there is no limit set to the perfecting of the powers of man; that human perfectibility, henceforth independent of any power that might wish to stop it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has placed us.” Nature is capitalized incidentally. “Doubtless this progress can proceed at a pace more or less rapid, but it will never go backward.”
Reminds us of the French psychotherapist, Emile Coue, “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” His teaching achieved a vogue in England and in the United States in the 1920’s, but the basic philosophy underlying that rather extreme statement is still with us.
Christian liberalism. When I speak of Christian liberalism, I mean the liberalism of professing Christians. Christian liberalism, following in the same train as Condorcet and Coue, has been guilty of four supreme errors. First of all, a false estimation of human nature. In fact, this is really the fundamental error of what we would call Christian Professing Liberalism. It is the error. It’s the reason how individuals can be confused about socialism and the socialism that is characteristic of communism. We are seeing the collapse of communism, and it must never be forgotten that, fundamentally, at the heart of that system is its socialism. And so when communism collapses, socialism is collapsing. So, fundamentally, the false estimate of human nature lies at the heart of that collapse.
In fact, it’s really the theological doctrine which it is important for us to embrace. That is, the depravity of human nature rather than an optimistic idea of philosophy of human nature, because of the false estimation of human nature, because of the ways in which we have been deceived to believe that it is possible for men of themselves to bring in a kingdom. Because we have been deceived we have suffered and had to suffer and will continue to suffer, if that philosophy continues to have success.
One of the things that is characteristic of this is the way in which we live our lives day by day. Paul spoke about individuals of the last days as being disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection. This widespread state of delinquency among the youth and among our adults is the fault, not simply of the youths themselves though it is their fault, but it is also the fault of their parents. The youths are disobedient to their parents, but their parents are unthankful and unthankful specifically for their divinely given responsibility to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. So we have individuals, young people, who are unthankful and therefore disobedient. And we have parents who are disobedient to the Scriptures and unthankful of the responsibility and the blessings of that responsibility that God has given to them. Disobedient children defy their parents openly. Unthankful parents disregard their responsibility openly. The results you know as well, or better than I.
Some years ago in the New York Times, an individual wrote a letter to the editors which was published on the editorial page. And this female wrote, “If more parents were in the habit of taking their offspring over their knee and applying a generous dose of strap oil,” I never have heard of strap oil but I understand the statement, “we’d all be better. My teenage girls have felt the beneficial sting since way back,” she wrote.
But what a rumpus that started on the pages of the New York Times. Boiling and bombastic teenagers wrote, complaining that such letters would influence parents to use force where it hurts terribly. Indignant citizens began to compare the writer of the letter with Nazis and Japanese war criminals. Said one incensed woman, “We have been horrified by the beating of helpless persons by the cruel guards in prison camps. Is it not time to be shocked by American parents who use the strap on their defenseless children?”
Well we cannot air anything like this here. I’m sure that, probably in our audience, we have some people who think that would be very wrong. But I am reminded of the textus Scripture, and in The Proverbs a wise man wrote, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes,” or early. How important that is for our children. But our response to the word of God has been the response, so often, of disobedience, unthankfulness, and consequently we have to suffer as a result.
What the apostolic preaching of the word of God did was to show men the cross of Christ and their own share in it and true preaching dare not fail to do that today. P. T. Forsyth was an early 20th Century theologian known for a number of very vivid statements. One of them was, “As a race we are not even stray sheep, or wandering prodigals merely; we are rebels taken with weapons in our hands.” Until we come to realize what we really are before God, then we shall not understand ourselves and we shall surely not understand the society of which we are a part.
The second error of Christian liberalism was false expectation of fulfillment of the Kingdom of God in history. You can see this in so many of the books that were written in the earlier part of the century and in some even today. We begin with a process of evolution which may be traceable to various things, for scientists have different opinions about the beginning; but out of that comes civilization, and finally a super civilization, and then the Kingdom of God. Karl Marx was no more fervent, or certain, in his belief in the inevitability of socialism than the Christian liberals have been in their belief in the inevitability of the coming of the kingdom brought on by man. Man’s destiny has been transformed from heaven to the earth.
The third error was the denial of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. In fact, scholars of religious bent ransacked the various writings of the past and the present for indications of ethical parallels to the ministry of the Lord Jesus. Notice ethical parallels, not theological parallels, but ethical parallels. In other words, find anything that you possibly can in the history of the human race that could be called a parallel ethically of the ministry and teaching of the Lord Jesus, and by finding the parallels one reduces the uniqueness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The result is a picture in our liberal theology of an individual who was good and nice and kind and a great teacher of moral principles. William Temple, who is not noted for his conservatism theologically, he was one of the Archbishops of the Anglican church and a very thoughtful man, a very wise man in so many ways. He once said, “Why any man should have troubled to crucify the Christ of liberal Protestantism has always been a mystery.” Why would anyone want to crucify someone who was not unique? The reason that men wanted to crucify Jesus Christ was simply because he was unique and because he presented a picture of human nature that damned human nature, in the theological sense. That’s why they hated him. And of course our Lord put his finger upon that and he suffered as a result of it.
The final error of Christian liberal thinking, or Christian liberalism, was the secularization of life and truth. Life is the arena for the triumph of man, not the arena for the glorification of God which creation intended life to be, but life is simply the arena for the triumph of man. I introduce the message with that for one could not find a greater contrast between these things and what we read in The Divine Revelation. “The Seventh Trumpet” says radical change in world government is coming. The beasts, and incidentally if you’ll read over the Bible, you’ll know that that’s the way God speaks of human government beautifully in the second and the seventh chapters of the Book of Daniel this is brought out. In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, human government is presented as an all inspiring great image, suggesting the greatness of human government; but the vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar.
Now later in the book, when a vision is given to the prophet, the Prophet of God, of human government, instead of a great all inspiring image in the presence of which we would say “ohh” and “ahh,” the prophet gives us a picture of four beasts, wild beasts. He talks about a bear, a leopard, a lion, and then an indescribable beast, one that one cannot really name; because human government, to God, is set against him. So, “The Seventh Trumpet” lets us know that there’s a radical change coming. The beasts will one day yield to the son of man. It says that man is sinful; it says the kingdom is from God. It says that the Messiah is unique, and it says that society is fundamentally spiritual and will ultimately declare the glory of God.
Now let’s look at the text and you’ll notice that in the 15th verse, John writes of the sounding of the seventh angel, “And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying: ‘The World Kingdom of the Lord and His Messiah has come and he, the Lord, shall reign for ever and ever.'” In the midst of Jacob’s troubles, then shall come the cataclysmic events that shall ultimately reach their climax in the second advent of the Son of God. Two series of judgments have past. The final series will be in the 15th and 16th chapters set before us: The series of the bold judgments. But now in the beginning, as the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, there is a kind of rehearsal, in brief, of the details that are to follow.
It is what a German would call an Ubersicht, that is, an overview, of the things that lie ahead. In fact, what is found in verses 14 through 19 is a kind of summary of chapter 12 verse 1 through chapter 20 and verse 15. It’s a synopsis, a rehearsal in brief, of the details that John would give in the remainder of his vision. It’s very much like if a historian were describing the conquering of England. Now in the 11th Century, you’ll remember when the standards of the Duke of Normandy landed upon the English shores. A reporter, a historian, might have said, “Well at that moment, the Duke of Normandy has taken possession of the island and it has become his possession.”
A historian might render it that way and then he might go on, as the pages of his history unfold, he might talk about the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He might go on to talk about the settling of the country and the details of it. He might talk about the division of that land that ultimately took place and about the subsequent peace. But having stated it at the beginning, the standards of the Duke of Normandy signified that the duke had taken control and possession of the island, would be a simple statement, the details of which follow. What we have here is that same kind of fundamental statement, the details of which will be given later on in the book.
I was interested, when I read this again, to note that we read, “And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven.” That’s tragic, great voices in heaven. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were great voices on earth and not simply in heaven? You see the tragedy of it is that heaven knows the end of things, but earth does not know and earth refuses to know. So the great voices are voices that come from heaven.
Now the reason that the Apostle has given us this Revelation is that we on the earth might anticipate the victory that is to come. So heaven knows; earth refuses to know. I say to you in the audience that the Scriptures set forth for us the things that are going to happen. It may seem tragic to you to read some of the things that are going to happen, the vast numbers of people who shall lose their lives. But a believing person reading this finds, in this reason, for great voices that are heavenly in their nature. For God is going to have his kingdom, bring it to pass upon the earth, and demonstrate through the things that will take place the glorification of his own name through Jesus Christ. That’s something to rejoice in.
Now, we don’t rejoice in the suffering and sorrow, but must precede it. We rejoice, however, in what God is doing in glorifying his name. And we appeal to men as preachers of the Gospel of Christ that you, through word of God addressed to you, may turn to him and find deliverance from the judgments that are to fall. He says, “the world kingdom, the world kingdom of our Lord and his Messiah has come,” passes from the hands of the usurper to the true imperator. Our Lord is the true ruler who rules with the Father in the Messianic kingdom. We read in Psalm 2, “Why do the nations rage and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Messiah, saying, ‘Let’s break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.'” What a modern attitude that is. What a 20th Century attitude. Let us not have anything to do with the Revelation of the Lord God, the triune God of holy Scripture. Let us cast their bands from us, let us be free of them. And we shall truly be free, not knowing that that attitude is the reason for their bondage.
Now, following that, there are seven grounds for the thanksgiving that is expressed by the four and twenty elders. We read, “And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their thrones fell upon their faces and worshipped God saying, ‘We give thanks.'” I think that’s rather interesting, because Heaven’s noblest, angelic princes, those twenty-four elders, behaved before the Lord God in a worshipful attitude. You might suggest that sometimes we, in the way in which we meet, fail to realize the way in which we should come into a meeting such as our meetings in which we are to listen to the word of God, we are to sing together praises to the triune God, we are to reflect on holy Scripture and respond to the word of God in proper worship.
And sometimes our attitude in our 11:00 A.M. service is not the attitude of the twenty-four elders. It seems to me that the proper way to come to a meeting in which the word of God is to be expounded and we are to have fellowship with the Lord through the word and fellowship with our fellow believers. It should be a time of reverential fear. And consequently, the attitude of the four and twenty elders, who sit before God falling upon their faces and worship God, is an attitude from which we can’t learn.
Now, the seven grounds for thanksgiving are very easy to see. We won’t spend a whole lot of time on it. We know that the game begins at 12:00 A.M., and some of you cannot miss such a thing as that. [Laughter]. But the seven reasons are set out so plainly, why the elders give thanks. And I’m just going to comment upon them, maybe make a few comments about one or two of them that seem to be a bit more important. First of all, he says, “We give thanks O Lord God Almighty, which art and wast, because thou hast taken thy great power and hast begun to reign.
No ordinary work is before the Lord God; for the work that he will do will be a work that will bring the whole of his creation in submission to him. And so no ordinary work must be followed by no ordinary measure of power. Great power is needed to perform that work, and so the elders give thanks because thou hast taken thy great power. The time for the assumption of the power necessary to make this World Kingdom our Lord’s is now here.” What I like about that too, is the way in which he has put it. He used a tense which refers to an event that takes place in past time, the results of which continue perfect tense. So, he says, “Because you have taken your great power.” That is, he’s assumed this power, he possesses this power, and he will possess this power until he finishes the job. That’s the first reason for thanksgiving.
The second is also found in the 17th verse: “And hast begun to reign.” Slightly different tense, referring to something that is ingressive in action. “He has begun to reign.” Now, the reign, of course, isn’t reign under the ages of the ages. We read in verse 15, “of his Messiah, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” So, he has begun his reign and the reign begins as he carries out the ministry necessary to establish the kingdom on the earth. Daniel, in the Old Testament, lays great stress upon the fact that it is the Lord God who is responsible for the kingdom upon the earth. In the 44th verse of the 2nd chapter, after the great vision of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, giving an interpretation says, “In the days of these kings,” these earthly kings, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.” So it’s God who sets up a kingdom on the earth. That’s why we call it the Kingdom of God. It’s that which he sets up by his mighty power. So he begins to reign.
And the elders go on to say from the 18th verse, “And the nations were enraged.” In other words, there was anger against the Lord God among the nations. That’s what the Psalmist talks about, “Why do the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and his Messiah. Let us break their bands asunder,” they say, “and cast away their cords from us.” The nations are enraged against the Lord God of heaven. That’s not surprising. Did not the Lord Jesus when he was here say, “They have hated me, they will also hate you apostles.” What are we reading about, but the continuation of the quarrel that the world has with Jesus Christ. They continue it constantly.
If you suffer because of your testimony for our Lord and I hope you do to some extent. If you have the courage to stand up among your friends and say something for the gospel, truly something for the gospel, and give your testimony to them; you will find there is not universal acceptance. And you will experience something of the quarrel of the world with our Lord, Jesus Christ. There is only one great hatred in the world, one great, great hatred, and that is hatred against Jesus Christ. It reached its climax in the cross of our Lord. There, Gentiles together with Jews, the nations as a whole crucified the promised Messiah. Paul was entirely right when, with magnificent daring.
One of my old professors once said he pictured Christ as the one who wielded the hammer at Calvary. That is the hammer to nail the bond of the Lord to the tree where it was cancelled. He told the Colossians he disarmed the principalities and powers, made assure of them openly, triumphing over them at the cross. John Calvin expounds this a bit in some rather beautiful words, he says, “There is no tribunal so magnificent,” talking about the cross, “there is no throne so stately, there is no show of triumph so distinguished, and no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil and trodden them under his feet.” That’s the ultimate, that’s the climax of the hatred of the world against our Lord, against the triune God, against everything that God is trying to do. And it’s still being spelled out in the hatred of our society against our Lord. “The nations were furious, outraged,” we might translate it.
Fourthly, “thy wrath has come.” The camera shifts to heaven after the three verses, and in contrast to the wild, rebellious tumult upon the earth, we read this, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord,” that term in the Hebrew text is a term that refers to the one who has authority to possess things, “the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure, ‘yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion,'” the Father says. So what are we living in at the present time? Well, we’re living in the forbearance of God, in the long suffering of God. But let me tell you this, my friends, that there is coming a time when his forbearance will reach its end, when his long suffering will finally reach its destined end. Then shall he speak under the nations in his wrath and he’ll be very displeased and carry out his judgments. The one who controls all sits in calm content, but then what difference.
Then fifthly, he says in the 18th verse, “and the time of the dead that they should be judged.” Now this statement is not absolutely clear to me, but I’m going to take it this way. This is the judgment of the Old Testament saints. That is, the time is coming for them to be judged. He goes on to say, “that thou shouldest give reward.” Incidentally, the reason I say that is because of the statements in Matthew chapter 16, in verse 27, for example.
Then the sixth thing, “that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the profits and to the saints,” or the holy ones, “and them that fear thy name small and great.” So I take that to mean that the time is coming when he shall reward the profits who faithfully serve the Lord, sometimes lost their lives in that faithful service; the holy ones, the holy men under law, who were faithful to the testimony in their day; and then those that fear thy name, a term specifically used of Gentiles in the Old Testament. I take that to be the reference of that expression. That reward should be given to the prophets, the holy men who lived under the law of Moses, and to the Gentiles. In other words, Mosses, the writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews, puts it this way, he says in chapter 11, and verse 26, I’d like to read this verse, he says, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he, Moses, had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” So Moses shall have his award, Daniel shall stand in his lot in the later days.
And, finally, the seventh, and we read in verse 18 also, “and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” Now, we are told later on in the 19th chapter that that is the work of the beast, the false prophet, the kings of the earth. So I gather then that what he is saying is the time is coming when the Lord God, as he with his Messiah enter upon their rule, will destroy those which have been destroying the earth. The beast, the false prophet, the kings of the earth, and all those who oppose the will of God as expressed in the word of God, shall find, ultimately, themselves under judgment of the Lord God.
And, finally, in the 19th verse the apostle writes, “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the Ark of the Covenant.” That was the ultimate restoration of perfect access to God, the sign of it. And it was the sign of the presence of the Lord God among the children of Israel. That ark in the most holy place represented, in symbolic form, the presence of the Lord and his commitment to the promises of the word of God. And so as the temple of God is opened and as the apostle sees the ark of the testament that was designed to give encouragement that all the promises of the word of God shall find their fruition, and faithfully so in the coming future.
Now, recently, while I was sick, I wrote a little paper, and the paper was entitled, Romans 9-11 and Millennialism and the Controversies of Millennialism. In the course of writing the paper and near the end of it, I turned to Micah chapter 7, verse 18 through verse 20. I’d like to read these verses because they express so beautifully the confidence that we should have that God will fulfill all of his word. Listen to what the prophet says. He has written a book in which he has condemned the northern kingdom for its disobedience. And now as he comes to its conclusion you might think, since they have been so disobedient, the promises are cancelled for the nation,
“Who is a God like unto Thee,” (Micah says) “that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion on us; he will subdue our iniquities.” (How does he know that? Well he knows that because it’s been prophesied in the word of God. Even though they’re disobedient, he knows that that’s going to happen.) “He will subdue our iniquities. Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Now notice this climactic verse of the prophecy.) “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob. He will faithfully carry out his promises that he made to Israel, and the mercy to Abraham. He will faithfully carry out his word, and he will faithfully carry out his lovingkindness,” (his chesed) “to Abraham which thou hast sworn to our fathers from days of ol’.”
Look, my Christian friend, when the word of God speaks and the message is plain and clear, let us count upon it. Let us remember that God has sworn, by his own nature, to carry out and fulfill his truth and his loving kindness. So this panorama of the future introduced by the statement, “The third woe cometh quickly,” is now at hand. Nothing is said of it, actually, until the 15th and 16th chapters, but enough is said to indicate that ultimate control of human history in heaven and its consummation is absolutely certain.
Bismarck once said, he was a great German statesman, Bismarck said, “The statesman must try and reach for the hem when he hears the garment of God rustling through events.” What a magnificent statement. “The statesman must try and reach for the hem,” that’s hem, “the hem when he hears the garment of God rusting through events.” In other words, what we need to do is to come to harmony with the Lord God. This human responsibility is stated most clearly in that psalm. The psalmist concludes by saying, “Kiss the Son, lest ye parish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who trust in him.”
George Gill used to say, “This is the Old Testament way of saying Acts 16:31: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.'” “Kiss the Son.” Isn’t it striking? Only one person in the New Testament that I remember, has specifically said to have kissed him. Judith, ironically, is the only one who kissed him. The one to whom he gave another chance at the last supper, incidentally, but it was a kiss of betrayal. May God enable us in his marvelous grace to give him a kiss of trust. May we, as Wesley, be able to truly say, “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.”
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past; safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.” No better prayer could be offered for you if you do not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who in his cross has offered the atoning sacrifice by which one may pass from death to life. Come out of your death into the life of Christ. Come out of your certain judgment to come into justification of life through the Lord Jesus. Do not leave this auditorium until you too have, by God’s grace, acknowledged your sin, acknowledged him as your Savior, and a personal trust in him. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Father, what can a near man say in the light of these magnificent words? Help us to truly affirm them, to truly respond to them, to have a true form of spiritual bravery in our days. Help us to stand for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our day. For those, Lord, who may not know our Lord, may in this, their moment they turn to him, give thanks for him, acknowledge their ascend, acknowledge the blood that was shed as their only hope, and pass from darkness into his marvelous light.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.