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Back To The Future – Sermon #20

 

Revelation 7:9-17

A MULTITUDE NO MAN COULD NUMBER

Intro: As we continue to move through the book of the Revelation, we are in the middle of a parenthetical passage. Chapter seven is inserted into the narrative to allow us to catch a glimpse of the grace of God at work during the most horrible time earth has ever known.

      In our last study, we saw the Lord redeem 144,000 Jewish men. These men were sent out into the entire world to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations. In this passage, we will see the fruits of their preaching, as a vast multitude is brought to faith in Jesus Christ and is delivered out of the Great Tribulation.

      It comforts my heart to know that the Rapture of the church does not spell the end of people being saved. I praise the Lord that He intends to redeem a multitude that no man could number during the dark years of the Tribulation Period. This passage reveals the heart of our great God. It is in His heart and plan to save sinners, and He is going to do just that during the Tribulation.

      The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ came into this world for the sole purpose of saving sinners from their sins, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. It is also clear that God intends to save every person who will turn to Jesus by faith, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” John 6:37. Here is God’s promise to His elect, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9. That is the heartbeat of God and it can be heard in the verses before us today.

      Let’s go back into the heart of the tribulation period and rejoin John in his vision of that terrible time. In these verses, we are going to learn about a vast multitude of redeemed saints, and we are going to get a glimpse into glory as the curtain is pulled back just a little. So, let’s take these verses and consider the subject: A Multitude That No Man Could Number. I want to share some facts about this precious group of saints that are presented in these verses.

 

  I.  v. 9-12 THE DESCRIPTION OF THIS MULTITUDE

A.  v. 9  How They Are Shown – Reading John’s description of this multitude reveals a number of things about who these people are.

1.  Their Number – They are described as “a multitude which no man could number.” They are a group of people so vast that John makes no attempt at all to declare their number. What a wonderful image of the grace of God.

      On the Day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were saved, Acts 2:41. Some time later, 5,000 were saved on one occasion, Acts 4:4. We are also told that God “added daily to the church such as should be saved”, Acts 2:47.  I read that and I am amazed at His saving power! But wait, about 1,000,000 were saved in Nineveh when the entire city repented and turned to faith in God, Jonah 3:5-10. Praise God for His saving grace. Even more amazing than that is the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Over 3,000,000 were saved by grace when they placed the blood on the doorposts of their houses by faith, Ex. 12.

      All of these great demonstrations of the powerful, saving grace of God pale in comparison to what He will do during the Tribulation Period! God will save a multitude that will number in the multiplied millions! Praise God for His grace!

2.  Their Nationalities – We are told that they come from “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues”. Here is a multitude that knows no racial, economic, social, or national distinctions. The Gospel has been preached worldwide, without respect to any people group and a vast multitude is saved. They are Gentiles and they have been saved by grace. In the first none verses of this chapter, God dealt with Jews. Now, He extends His grace to the Gentile nations of the world.

 

(Note: I praise the Lord that the Gospel of grace is a message that applies to all people everywhere. We have our prejudices and we judge people by the color of their skin; by their ethnic background; by how they were raised; and by many other foolish, ignorant standards. God, however, holds no such prejudices! He will save any soul that will come to Him by faith! I praise God that it is that way. After all, if Jesus was a racist, us white folks would be in trouble!)

 

(Note: I would also like to remind us that the Gospel message is not a Baptist message either. You may have heard the old story about a wall in Heaven, and behind that wall there was a group of people just shouting and praising the Lord. One fellow, who was new to Heaven, asked another fellow what was going on behind that wall. The man answered, “Oh, that the Baptists, they think they are the only ones up here!”

      There are some Baptists who think that way! I have been accused of being so narrow-minded that I think only the Baptists are going. Well, I am even more narrow-minded than that! I don’t believe that all Baptists are going!

      I praise the Lord that it isn’t just the Baptists that are going to Heaven! Any person who will believe the Gospel, anywhere in this world will be saved and will go to Heaven.

      But, I still praise the Lord that I am a Baptist! If someone asked me what I would be if I was not a Baptist, I would reply that “I’d be ashamed!” I don’t think the Baptists are right about everything, just most things! I am a Baptist because I think they are closer to the truth than any other group on earth. I know that being a Baptist won’t get me to Heaven, but it will let me go there in still! The difference between being a Baptist and being anything else is the difference between driving a Yugo and a Rolls-Royce. That was a public service announcement. Now, back to the message.)

 

3.  Their Natures – Some people look at this multitude and see the church. This multitude is not the church! First, they are “standing”. When the church is shown in Heaven, they are sitting, Rev. 4:4. Second, this crowd was saved out of “Great Tribulation”, v. 14. The church will be saved from that terrible time of wrath and judgment, 1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 3:10. While they are not the church, their appearance and condition in Heaven is clearly described.

a.  They Are Virtuous – They are “clothed with white robes”. This is always a picture of righteousness in the Bible. These people are saved by grace and they have been rendered righteous. That is the promise of God to all who will come to Jesus Christ by faith, 1 John 1:7; Isa. 1:18. He is in the saving and cleansing business!

     

(Note: I praise the name of the Lord that the blood of Jesus is able to reconcile us to God. When Jesus died, the wall of separation that had been erected by sin was forever torn down and now, we can be reconciled with God, Eph. 1:6-7; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Eph. 2:16.)

 

b.  They Are Victorious – These redeemed saints have palm branches in their hands. Palms are a symbol of victory. The crowds waved palm branches and placed them in the road as Jesus entered Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, John 12:13. These saints are celebrating the great victory that was given to them over sin, Satan and the power of the Antichrist. They have overcome and they enjoy the spoils of the victory they have been given.

B.  v. 10  What They Shout – These saints lift their voices in an anthem of praise to their Redeemer for His redemption. They know that they are in Heaven for one reason and for one reason only. They are there because of the grace of God and the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. They praise Him for His great grace!

 

(Note: If there was ever a reason for praise, it is the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins! His salvation is the one reason for praise that all saints share. Our circumstances may change and we may walk through hard places in life, but if you are saved, your name is written down in Heaven and it always will be. That is a reason for praise, for shouting, for singing, for testimony, for all the glory we can render unto our great God, Luke 10:20. By the way, we are way behind in the praise department!)

 

C.  v. 11-12  What They Stimulate – When the angelic host around the throne of God witness the unbridled praise of this redeemed multitude, they join their voices with them in praise to God. The shouts of the multitude inspire the angels to praise the Lord too. Can you imagine the sound of millions and millions of voices joined together in an anthem of praise?

      Now, the angels lift their voices and cry “Amen!” Thus, they add their agreement to the praises of the redeemed. They add a seven-fold statement of glory to God and praise Him for Who He is and for what He does. They know what they have said is true, so they close their statement of praise with another “Amen!”

      The angels cannot praise God for salvation, for they have never known the depths of sin. But, these angels have seen the love of God in action as He went about the business of saving lost humans. They marveled as they watched as their Creator, the Lord Jesus, died on Calvary to save people who despised Him. They have witnessed the spontaneous outbursts of praise as sinners have been saved down through the ages, Luke 15:7. Praising God for salvation is a human privilege

 

  I.  The Description Of This Multitude

 

 II.  v. 13-14  THE DELIVERANCE OF THIS MULTITUDE

(Ill. As John watches this powerful scene, one of the elders approaches him and asks John about the identity of this vast throng of people. John declares his ignorance of their identity and petitions the elder to tell him who they are. He proceeds to do just that.)

A.  The Ministry Of Their Deliverance – John is told that these are people who “came out of great tribulation.” These people have been living through the horrors of the Tribulations Period. But, even during that time of intense wrath and judgment, there is a ray of light as the amazing, boundless grace of God reaches down to touch a vast multitude of lost souls.

B.  The Method Of Their Deliverance – These people were saved the same way people have always been, and will always be, saved: by grace through faith, Eph. 2:8-9. We are told that they “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This simple statement reveals a profound truth: God only knows on method of salvation.

      Whether it was Adam and Eve in the Garden; Abel with his sacrifice; Abraham and his ram; Israel and the sacrifices of the Tabernacle and the Temple; salvation in the Old Testament was through the blood of the Lamb. When they shed the blood of an innocent animal to atone for their sins, they were looking ahead to the day when God would send the perfect sacrifice that would take away sin forever. Those Old Testament saints were saved by looking forward to Calvary. When Jesus cam and went to the cross, He accomplished what millions of animal sacrifices could only picture. When Jesus dies, He obtained eternal salvation for all who will believe on Him, Heb. 10:10-14; 9:28.

      Those of us on this side of the cross are saved by looking back to what Jesus did at the cross and realizing that His death and resurrection are all that is needed to our salvation. When we trust Him by faith, we are eternally saved, Rom. 10:9-10. even in the midst of Great Tribulation, souls will be saved by the simple preaching of a simple Gospel. Here it is once again: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”, 1 Cor. 15:3-4.

 

  I.  The Description Of This Multitude

 II.  The Deliverance Of This Multitude

 

III.  v. 15-17  THE DESTINY OF THIS MULTITUDE

A.  They Are Destined To A Heavenly Presence – We are told in verse 15 that this multitude finds themselves at home in Heaven in the presence of Almighty God. Their days of suffering and sorrow have ended and they have arrived in glory. They are no longer separated from the Lord by distance, by sin or by time. They are home with Him and they are there to stay!

      Notice where they are! Because they have been redeemed and cleansed, they are allowed to stand in the presence of God! This was unheard of in Bible times. In the Temple there was a place called the “Court of the Gentiles”. This was the outer court of the Temple and non-Jews were not allowed to go any deeper into the Temple complex that this outer court. To do so brought a Gentile under the penalty of death.

      When Jesus died, the veil in the Temple was ripped down the middle, Matt. 27:51. This signified the fact that all men had equal access to God. These redeemed Gentiles are brought into the very presence of God.

            Their present condition must make Satan livid with rage! Verse 14 tells us that they “came out of great tribulation”. These people are in Heaven because they were martyred for their faith in Jesus and for their refusal to embrace the Antichrist and their king and as their god. It is possible that these precious saints are the same crowd we saw praying from under the altar in Rev. 6:9-11. Now, their prayers are answered, they are home and judgment is being handed out upon the earth. The worst thing Satan could do to these people was to kill them, and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. They gave up the pain and sorrow of a world gone made for the safety and joy of an eternity in the presence of God!

B.  They Are Destined To A Heavenly Profession – The Bible says they will “serve Him day and night in His temple”. This joyous, redeemed multitude is in the presence of God and they are at the beck and call of God. They will spend their eternity carrying out His will as they serve Him, worship Him and bask in His presence.

 

(Note: By the way, never think for an instant that Heaven will be a boring place. We will not twiddle our thumbs, bored stiff while eternity passes us by. We will be busy serving the Lord. There will be plenty to do. I am convinced that just our praise and worship time will be enormous. We will rest from our labors, but we will not rest from our service to Almighty God. He’s got a job for you over there!

      By the way, there’s no place to quit over here either! Oh, you might step aside and let someone else do a job. There comes a time when it is time for a change. There comes a time when it is time for “new blood” in some offices. However, there will never come a time this side of the grave when you can rightfully sit down on God and quit. As long as He leaves you here, He has a work for you to do. Get before Him, find out what it is, and get to it!)

 

C.  They Are Destined To Heavenly Provisions – Now, remember, these saints were saved out of the Tribulation Period. They had been saved, but they had also suffered with everyone else on earth. Just because they turned to the Lord does not mean that they were sheltered from the horrors of those days. In fact, their faith in Jesus Christ might have made their lives even more miserable here on earth. Remember, the book of Revelation is not in chronological order. We are seeing people who are martyred throughout the years of Tribulation. We are told several things about their past and about what they can anticipate in Heaven.

·         They will hunger no more – Remember the famines we talked about in Rev. 6:5-6? We are also told that Antichrist will require people to wear a mark in their bodies before they can buy or sell, Rev. 13:16-18. Because of their faith, they will refuse the mark and will go hungry. The Bible also says that their refusal to wear the mark will be a death warrant to them, Rev. 13:15. But, we are told that in Heaven, the Lamb will feed them! There will be no more hunger in glory. They are home and they will be well cared for!

·         They will thirst no more – We are told that the waters of the earth will turn to blood and be unfit to drink during the Tribulation, Rev. 8:8; 11. As a result, the people of earth will be thirsty. But, in Heaven, they are led to fountains of living water by the Lamb. They are satisfied there.

·         They will suffer no more – The references to the sun and the heat remind us that the Tribulation Period will be a period of intense physical suffering, and the redeemed saints of God will not be immune from the effects of God’s judgments upon nature. In Rev. 16:8-10, the intensity of the sun will be greatly increased causing dehydrated men great pain and suffering. They will literally chew their tongues in their pain and agony. But, in Heaven, none of the things that hurt them on earth will be allowed to follow them there.

·         They will weep no more – Imagine all they have seen and suffered because of their faith. Their hearts have been broken and their eyes wet with tears even as they gave their all for Jesus Christ. But, the Lamb of God will wipe away the tears of their suffering and sorrow. He will comfort them and give them rest, peace and blessing.

·         By the way, these blessings are ours as well, Rev. 21-22!

 

Conc: I praise God that He is a soul-saving God. I praise Him that He reaches down in grace to call lost sinners to Him that He might save them. It comforts my heart to know that He is coming to continue to do this even during the Tribulation Period. We ought to praise Him for His saving grace and power.

      As I think about this multitude today, I know that neither I, nor anyone in this room, will ever be a part of that number. If you are saved, you will see them one day and watch as they shout their praises unto the God and the Lamb. If you are not saved today and Jesus comes back, you will never have another opportunity to be saved.

      So, here is the invitation:

·         If you are lost and would like to be save, come to Jesus today and let us show you how you can come to know Jesus.

·         If you are saved, but there are issues between you and the Lord that need to be addressed, you come and make it right.

·         If you want to thank Him for His grace and blessings in your life, you come.

·         If you would like to pray from some lost people on your heart, you come.

·         If there are other needs, this altar is open.

 

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