THE HEAVENLY WORSHIP LEADER

Rev. 19:4-5 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, ¶ “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”

After all the stunning things John had seen, this had to be at the top of the list. The Apostle John had a series of visions when he was caught up in the Spirit while praying on the Isle of Patmos. In this vision, he is observing the celebration taking place in heaven at the judging of the great harlot and the preparation for Christ to return for His bride. Here, he hears the voice of the resurrected, glorified man, Jesus Christ, exhorting the creatures in heaven to join with Him in worshipping the Father. What an amazing mystery! God the Son leading in the worship of God the Father. Wow! What an amazing scene. Our Lord Jesus in His glory still displaying the humility He portrayed on earth. What an awesome Savior. Here is a short clip from Jonathan Edwards observations on this passage.

“This may be looked upon as the voice of Christ, who “is in the midst of the throne” (Revelation 5:6), who overcame, and is set down with the “Father in his throne” [Revelation 3:21]. “The throne of God and the Lamb” are the same (Revelation 22:1). This is not the voice of God the Father, because the voice says, “Praise OUR God.” But supposing it to be the voice of Christ, this well agrees to what Christ says, “Go tell my brethren, Behold, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” [John 20:17]. Thus Christ leads the heavenly church in their praises. In the following verse we have an account of the church’s compliance, and following of Christ in praising God. Christ speaks of praising God “in the great congregation,” in Psalms 22:25, and Psalms 35:18, and Psalms 40:9–10.”

As Paul says, great is the mystery of godliness. Jesus Christ is still a man, He became one of us for eternity. He is leading the great congregation in worship. I can’t wait to be in that throng. Actually, Jesus led his disciples in worship when He was here on earth. After the last supper the scriptures said that Jesus led them in a hymn. As He was walking to His betrayal and His ultimate death He was singing. Why is Jesus a worshipper? Because He has the greatest revelation of the majesty and greatness of God. He has known His Father from eternity. Now, in His humanity, He not only represents us before the Father as a priest, He leads us into the Father’s presence as part of His heavenly ministry. This is the way into the place of intimacy with God. We don’t have to wait until we are actually in heaven to join this worshipping throng, we can join in now. We can join our voices with the angels, the elders, the redeemed, and with Christ Himself singing holy, holy, holy to our God.

THE NEW JERUSALEM

Rev. 19:7,8 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.

John’s description of the church is quite a contrast to the Babylonian harlot, the one world church. The church on earth has bought in totally to the spirit of the world, the spirit of antichrist. They act like the world, think like the world, talk like the world; all because the spirit of the world is in them. This weekend Egon Falk, a Danish Evangelist who ministers in Tanzania, told me about the spiritual condition of the church in Europe. He said that many European Christians are socialist in their belief system and have no problem with abortion. Our country is speeding down the same path being led by the broken academic world; our schools and colleges are swallowing up the path toward socialism. This big government approach is paving the way for a last day universal government that tries to run our whole society. Man is arrogantly trying to build a utopia without the Lord in it. The judgement of the antichrist, the false prophet, the one world government, and the false church are all imminent. Christ will return Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s passage.

“The occasion of this song; and that is the reign and dominion of that omnipotent God who has redeemed his church by his own blood, and is now in a more public manner betrothing her to himself: The marriage of the Lamb has come…..You have here a description of the bride, how she appeared; not in the gay and gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints; in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, both imputed for justification and imparted for sanctification—the stola, the white robe of absolution, adoption, and enfranchisement, and the white robe of purity and universal holiness. She had washed her robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and these her nuptial ornaments she did not purchase by any price of her own, but received them as the gift and grant of her blessed Lord.”

The rejoicing in heaven was spontaneous. The world system was finally being judged and Christ was about to return. I think all of us become distant and lukewarm, the time for repentance and renewal has come.

RETURN OF CHRIST

Rev. 19:11.12 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

This is another example of the amazing contrast between Christ in His humility as a man and His display of His glory as the Son of God. This triumphant scene, Christ coming to reign in Jerusalem riding on His white horse, accompanied by His enormous army, stirs the memories of that last grand entrance Christ made into Jerusalem The last time He was riding on a donkey, His glory concealed in His humanity. This time He comes in full demonstration of His power and glory. Every eye will see Him and His enemies will be instantly destroyed at His appearing. In that moment of time the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed, the Kingdom of our Lord will begin to reign on this earth. Here is how Tim Lahaye describes this passage.

“The present rider, with eyes “like blazing fire,” can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The significance of the white horse is typical of the difference between this coming and Christ’s first coming. While on this earth our Lord fulfilled Zechariah 9:9, entering Jerusalem on a lowly beast of burden. Now His humiliation is done away and He will come in glory, properly using the white horse to depict His power and glory….“Faithful and True” presents our Lord as a contrast to the unfaithful deceivers of humankind, Antichrist and Satan. Our Lord has faithfully fulfilled all of His prophecies. “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years” (2 Pet. 3:8) suggests that a promise of God given a thousand years ago is as though it were given yesterday.”

I love the fact that Jesus is called Faithful and True. Every word of His promise will be carried out. Today, the spirit of the world, the spirit of antichrist, is desperately trying to hinder the coming of the kingdom of God. As Paul said, the kingdom does not come in words only, but it comes in the demonstration of power and signs and wonders. If the Lord is really Faithful and True, then we are about to experience the greatest revival of all time. His coming is imminent, its time for us to engage in the battle for souls.

HALLELUJAH

Rev. 19:1,2 – After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.”

Have you ever been to a performance of Handel’s Messiah? The Hallelujah Chorus is an amazing glimpse of this scene in heaven. Actually, Handel was inspired by the worship in heaven in the book of Revelation to compose his masterpiece, THE MESSIAH. He locked himself up in his home for almost a month after his dramatic conversion experience. His impression of the worship in heaven was his inspiration.

Revelation’s contrasts the heavenly worship with the misery found on earth. In Revelation 19, everything is coming to it’s final head. The false church and the one world government have been judged. Christ’s return is imminent. The heavenly beings can’t back their joy. Worship is breaking out as Christ prepares to return to the earth. Here is how Tim Lahaye describes this scene.

“In a vital sense the rejoicing in heaven in Rev. 19 results from the final triumph of good over evil, Christ over Antichrist, God over Satan, and the Holy Spirit over the spirit of evil. Ever since the fall of Adam the angelic creatures around the throne of God have anticipated that ultimate day when the cup of human iniquity would be filled with abominations and God would finally judge the human race. This contrasts with the attitude of people in the world, who will be weeping for the doom of the prostitute, Babylon. The scene in Revelation 19 offers a brief glimpse of what God intends to be the experience of humankind in their relationship with God, from which they fell.”

Today, we live precariously close to the unfolding of these events. To those whose hearts are fixed on this earth alone, misery and depression are looming. To those who have set their affections on Christ and His kingdom, the joyful anticipation deepens. Our hearts are filling with worship as the great day draws near. If these things are true we must press in to the Lord. Worship and evangelism have to become our daily bread. The world is hopeless, we have an anchor of hope that has entered the veil. Fix your hope on the Lord, join in on the great Hallelujah chorus, the Lord draws near.

THE WEDDING FEAST

Rev. 19:7 – Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready

One of the greatest events in anyone’s life is the marriage celebration. It is often anticipated for months and even years before the joyful day arrives. This day is designed to be the celebration of a brand new life between two individuals who love one another deeply. It anticipates the joy of the life they will enjoy together. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is Christ’s celebration with us anticipating the unspeakable joys of eternity. It will be the last great event that will take place in heaven before Christ returns to earth to establish His kingdom. Today, we enjoy the foretaste of that heavenly life. Just as a groom gives the engagement ring of promise to his future bride, Christ has sealed us with His ring of promise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is our taste of the incredible life to come. Here is how Tim LAHAYE describes this marriage of the Lamb.

“The marriage of the Lamb must take place in heaven, for in Revelation 19:11, after the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb, we find the Lord Jesus coming in what we call “the Glorious Appearing” to set up His kingdom… Ephesians 5:27 indicates the manner in which the Bride will be presented to Christ: “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This condition will exist only after the judgment of Christ when believers have been completely cleansed and the Church is made whole. For that reason we believe that the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will take place during the Tribulation, will precede the marriage supper of the Lamb, and immediately after the judgment of reward has been presented to the last believer, the marriage of the Lamb will take place. All Christians who have trusted in Christ during the “age of grace, from the day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church, will make up His Bride.”

The looming question we must ask is this, are you wearing the wedding garment? Christ’s return is near, the celebration is about to begin, only those dressed in the wedding garment can go. What is that garment? It is the righteousness of Christ we receive as a gift when we believe in Christ and allow Him to wash us clean. Come quickly Lord!

GOD’S ARMY

Rev. 19:13,14 – He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

I often remember those early days after my conversion. My wife, Parris, and I went to California and joined a ministry called God’s Army. That’s exactly what is was for me. I often called it God’s boot camp because that is exactly what I needed in those days. I clearly remember the day when I met the director, Robert Forester. He is a gentle giant of a man who we all fondly called “Big Bob”. I first met Big Bob when he knocked on the door of the camper Parris and I were living in. He introduced himself and asked if I had a job yet. I said no and he quickly replied, “If you get a haircut you might get a job”. Actually that was a huge moment in my life. We all know hair means nothing but it meant something to me. It represented my image and the rebellious life I had been living. Thankfully I recognized the authority of Christ in Big Bob and Parris cut my hair that afternoon. I had joined God’s Army. In today’s verse we see this glorious army of God returning with our leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is Tim Lahaye’s description of this scene.

“The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean”. The armies of heaven consist of the angelic hosts, the Old Testament saints, the Church, and the Tribulation saints. The most significant truth, however, is the garb of this army. They are “dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” Military men are issued fatigue uniforms for battle dress, not only for camouflage but also because war is so dirty that light-colored clothes would be severely soiled. Here, however, the Commander-in-Chief of the heavenly forces clothes His army in white, a practice unheard of in the history of warfare. The reason should not be overlooked by the reader: No member of the armies of Christ that come with Him in His Glorious Appearing will do battle. Not one of us will lift a finger, for the battle will be consummated by the spoken word of our Lord.”

Do you have your army clothes on? You know, that white and clean linen. You put it on by believing in Christ. When you surrender to him, you too will be ready for the army of the Lord.

TESTIMONY THAT OVERCOMES

Rev 19:10 – Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The testimony of Jesus deals with authenticity. Christ working in us and through us is the testimony of Jesus. If you connect this verse to another verse earlier in Revelation, you can begin to see the power of the testimony of Jesus. This is how John said it in Rev. 12:1, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death”. The devil is the father of lies. Everything he does is based on lies and deception. Christ is the absolute truth. Christ in us declares the truth of redemption in our lives.

If the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy, then declaring what Christ is doing in our lives is prophetic and is a powerful tool in tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. Not only does it bring victory into our lives, it goes on to break the yoke of oppression off of those who speak His word. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this verse.

“True prophecy is using one’s voice or communication to deliver a message from God—something that honors him and often reveals something of his plans and purposes. Prophecy can inform, challenge, predict, warn or encourage people regarding those purposes. Ultimately, all true, godly prophecy is related to Jesus and his work of restoring people to a personal and eternal relationship with God. As such, all true prophecy honors Christ and calls us to be in right relationship with him.”

So go ahead and boldly declare what Christ has done. Lift up your voice as a weapon and testify to what the Lord has done and is doing in your life. Tell about His power over past sin and addictions in your life. Proclaim how He has worked in your family and friends. Boast in the testimony of Jesus. Not only will you be strengthened in faith, you will begin to extend His kingdom. Those who you are around and you speak the word to will experience the life changing power of God in their lives delivering them from evil.

TESTIMONY

Rev. 19 :10
Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

What a powerful word! Prophecy is the living word of God, or God speaking right now. The fact that Jesus Himself lives in us as born again Christians causes us to step into that prophetic anointing, John called it the testimony of Jesus. Christ is living out His life, or His testimony, in us to glorify His grace. His testimony makes us alive and makes Christianity real. Jesus told His followers in Acts 1 that they would be witnesses of Him after the Holy Spirit came upon them. This word “witnesses” is the same root word as “testimony”. In other words, after we are filled with the Spirit we begin to carry the testimony of Jesus in our lives. He lives in us to reach others for the sake of His name.

This Sunday we will be celebrating as a church thirty-seven years since we first began. This service will be a celebration of the testimony of Jesus. It’s the story of Parris and myself and how we got saved on the lakefront by the Mardi Gras Fountain in August of 1973, got married, went off to Bible School, baptized in the Holy Spirit and received a calling to the ministry. It’s the story of how Jesus met us as we returned to the city on the Bonnet Carre Spillway in 1977 and were called to pastor a church in New Orleans. We will celebrate all of our stories. Stories like the young woman in the psychiatric unit at Charity Hospital who got saved and her story ended up in the birthing of our first church plant, Believer’s Life on the Westbank. Stories like James and Christina Widener. Christina being one of our revival kids in 1994, James a convert from jail to the ministry. Their story went from Manila, Katrina restoration, until today the thriving work in Shanghai, China. The testimony includes a business woman from Guatemala who became a leader at Victory and has started three schools, a Bible School and multiple churches in Uganda. We will celebrate how Feed the Multitudes was birthed out of a financial crisis in our ministry, and how Beyond the Grave was birthed from the tragedy of a high school shooting, ending up in a harvest of many thousands of new believers. It’s also the story of young women at Mary’s-song and young men at 180 having their lives turned around by the testimony of Jesus.

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy. What is your testimony? Is Christ living in and through you? There are no limitations to what He can do. He is doing above and beyond anything we could have asked or even thought according to His power that is working in us.

THE BLOODY COAT

THE BLOODY COAT

Rev. 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

I often think of the various coats in the Bible and what they portray. There is Joseph’s coat of many colors that carried Joseph into the world of prophetic dreams. Of course, who can forget Elijah’s famous coat, it resonates with the Pentecostal power of the upper room. After the mantle came upon his disciple Elisha, Elisha could never be the same. To me, the coat of all coats was the one Jesus was wearing in the book of Revelation. Actually, its the one He is wearing now as He represents me as a priest and as my sin offering before the Father in heaven. In John’s vision Christ was wearing this coat dipped in blood as He mounts the white horse when He returns to judge this world. John Gill has some interesting comments about this robe.

“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood,
Either in his own, by which he became the Savior of his church and people; or else in the blood of his saints, he now comes to avenge; or rather in the blood of his enemies, with which he appears as stained, before the battle is fought, the victory being sure, and their slaughter unavoidable: the metaphor is taken from persons treading in a winepress, whose garments are stained with blood of grapes. Here may be also an allusion to the Roman general’s vesture, which was sometimes purple or scarlet, in which he fought, as did Lucullus.”

Jonathan Edwards brings out Jesus’ coat dipped in blood as foreshadowed by the bloody coat of Joseph.

“One thing that confirms me that the design here is not only to represent Christ’s garment as dipped in the blood of his enemies, but also dipped in his own blood, was Joseph’s garments being dipped in the blood of the kid that was slain in his room; in which affair Joseph was without doubt a type of Christ.”

I love that, Jesus could wear any coat He likes. He is the creator of all things. He is also the heir of all things by the act of redemption. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He would naturally be expected to dress in royal splendor as a king. Jesus is a king, but as Martin Luther often said, He is not “that kind of king”. Jesus has chosen to wear that bloody robe as a reminder of His love for us and to remind us of the incredible price He paid for our souls. Every time I think about the bloody coat of Jesus I am humbled again at His relentless love for me and how He is returning for me and to bring justice to all of our enemies. How can we respond? We must bow again with the angels. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is filled with Your Glory.

JESUS – THE HEAVENLY WORSHIP LEADER

JESUS- THE HEAVENLY WORSHIP LEADER

Rev. 19:4-5 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, ¶ “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”

After all the stunning things John had seen, this had to be at the top of the list. The Apostle John had a series of visions when he was caught up in the Spirit while praying on the Isle of Patmos. In this vision, he is observing the celebration taking place in heaven at the judging of the great harlot and the preparation for Christ to return for His bride. Here, he hears the voice of the resurrected, glorified man, Jesus Christ, exhorting the creatures in heaven to join with Him in worshipping the Father. What an amazing mystery! God the Son leading in the worship of God the Father. Wow! What an amazing scene. Our Lord Jesus in His glory still displaying the humility He portrayed on earth. What an awesome Savior. Here is a short clip from Jonathan Edwards observations on this passage.

“This may be looked upon as the voice of Christ, who “is in the midst of the throne” (Revelation 5:6), who overcame, and is set down with the “Father in his throne” [Revelation 3:21]. “The throne of God and the Lamb” are the same (Revelation 22:1). This is not the voice of God the Father, because the voice says, “Praise OUR God.” But supposing it to be the voice of Christ, this well agrees to what Christ says, “Go tell my brethren, Behold, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” [John 20:17]. Thus Christ leads the heavenly church in their praises. In the following verse we have an account of the church’s compliance, and following of Christ in praising God. Christ speaks of praising God “in the great congregation,” in Psalms 22:25, and Psalms 35:18, and Psalms 40:9–10.”

As Paul says, great is the mystery of godliness. Jesus Christ is still a man, He became one of us for eternity. He is leading the great congregation in worship. I can’t wait to be in that throng. Actually, Jesus led his disciples in worship when He was here on earth. After the last supper the scriptures said that Jesus led them in a hymn. As He was walking to His betrayal and His ultimate death He was singing. Why is Jesus a worshipper? Because He has the greatest revelation of the majesty and greatness of God. He has known His Father from eternity. Now, in His humanity, He not only represents us before the Father as a priest, He leads us into the Father’s presence as part of His heavenly ministry. This is the way into the place of intimacy with God. We don’t have to wait until we are actually in heaven to join this worshipping throng, we can join in now. We can join our voices with the angels, the elders, the redeemed, and with Christ Himself singing holy, holy, holy to our God.