Last Chance - Part 2

Scripture: Revelation 1:3, Revelation 14:6-14, Matthew 24:14
Is the book of Revelation a closed book? Is it sealed and full of mysterious symbols that we can never hope to understand? Not according to the book itself. This broadcast opens this book and encourages us to seek to understand its important message for our time, specifically the message of Revelation 14, the third angel's message.
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In our last broadcast, we learned that a great present-truth message is contained in the book of Revelation in the Bible. We discovered that it is not a closed book, by any means, in spite of the feelings of many, many religious leaders and theologians. We hear so much about the "sealed book" and the "mysterious book," the book of types and symbols that can't be understood today. But the book of Revelation contains some of the most vital truth for our very day. It is not sealed at all. We read in Revelation: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Isn't that clear and plain? Nothing could be simpler.

The book of Revelation never has been closed. Just the opposite is true. God wrote this book to reveal things that men never had understood before. This is the book of the last days. It has to do with conditions in the world in the last days. It has to do with the coming of our Lord, the ushering in of His new kingdom, and the final elimination of sin. All those things are included in the book of Revelation, so of course it is the devil's delight to hear people say that the book is closed. Mark this well, friends, a man or a woman in the last days of earth who does not understand the prophecies of Revelation does not stand a chance of getting out of this world alive into the better land. The devil knows that. He knows that here is the information we need. So he invented the lie that Revelation is a closed book.

Now let's go to the message. Listen very carefully and I'll read through quickly, because we want only to review it today, beginning in Revelation 14:6 and onward: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven,and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus...And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle."

There it is, God's message for the world today. It is the last warning that will ever be given to this world. And it is to be given just before the second coming of Christ. Immediately following this message, the prophet saw Christ coming in the clouds of heaven. Note that this is a message of extreme importance. It is not just another, ordinary message, not just another prophecy. It is the last warning for the earth. It is a message tailor-made for our day. The world is without hope unless it understands this truth. This is God's present truth for this present hour. Will you notice with me quickly some of the characteristics of this message. We won't take a great deal of time now, but let's see first that it is a message of extreme urgency. So many times you hear a sermon, and after you've heard it you turn away and click off the radio or television. Or you go home from a preaching service or church and say, "I wonder what's the purpose of that message. Would I be worse off if I never heard it at all?" Or would you be saying, "What did he say, anyway, I couldn't understand him." That happens a lot of times. But I want you to know that here is a message of extreme importance. It must go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

This is the message that embraces a great, world-wide missionary program. It is a message to reach every single soul. Too many things in our religious side of life are beside the point. And then a lot of things are absolutely unimportant, unnecessary. We are making another mistake, many of us, in laying long-range plans to meet a crisis, an emergency. A crisis or an emergency demands crisis action. And here is the message right here in the Bible, written down word-for-word, that is to go all over the world. Every man must hear it. That is how urgent it is.

Secondly, it is a message of the second coming. How thankful I am for that. Here is one that hails the coming of Christ as something positive. Immediately following this the Scriptures say that John looked up and saw the coming of Jesus. This takes place after that warning has gone everywhere, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. It is also a message of accountability. I like that very much. The trouble with the world today is that too many people have forgotten that we are accountable to a higher Being. But this message is simply saying, "You're going to face the judge very soon, so watch your behavior." Then it is a message that demands loyalty. Did you notice that? It starts out by saying, "Fear God." Then in verse 12 it specifically says that those who are honored and accepted by God must keep His commandments and keep the faith of Jesus. Both are necessary. Incidentally, if this is the message whose followers keep the faith of Jesus, there will be no modernism in it and there will be no evolution, because the faith of Jesus knows nothing about those things. It will be a back-to-the-Bible, back-to-God program. The Scriptures specifically teach that. Here also is a message of warning against false worship. "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God."

A very solemn warning is here issued against false worship. And these verses bring out the fact that it will mean worshiping God or the beast. Fear God and give glory to Him, or fear the beast and give glory to him. You remember that according to prophecy a beast is a power, and this power has to do with religion because it is being worshiped. It is a matter of worshiping something false or worshiping something true. The great message is simply saying, "Be sure that you do not accept a counterfeit instead of worshiping the true God." We will have much more to say about that later. But did you notice that the message is also a three-point message? It has these three major points:

1. The hour of God's judgment has come.

2. Babylon is fallen.

3. Don't receive the Mark of the Beast.

That is the substance of this great, last warning call of God. Please take careful note. This is God's last warning message, but how many sermons have you ever heard preached on it? This is a question we ought to answer way down deep in our hearts. It is a solemn question. With this warning to go everywhere, have you heard it before? It should be ringing from every pulpit of every church in this country of ours, and even in the entire world. I want you to think of the first message for just a moment. It says specifically, "The hour of God's judgment is come." Do you know what that means? If it means anything, it means that the judgment is already going on. "Is come" is in the present tense. Not "has come," or "will come," but "is come." Did you notice that? There is another prophecy in this wonderful book that tells exactly when the judgment began in heaven and proves we are living in the time of the judgment. We will be talking about that in a later broadcast. But this is a part of the last warning message. Have you ever heard of it before?

Then the second part of the message is this: "Babylon is fallen." Notice what the Lord says about Babylon in Revelation 18 and you will see why we preach on this subject. Verse 2: "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils." Verses 4 and 5: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Whatever Babylon is, God says, "It's fallen, and I've got people in Babylon, and I'm saying to them, ‘Get out quickly, because the devil has moved into Babylon, and Babylon is going to be unmercifully destroyed.'" Now, if that is a part of the last warning message, and God is saying to all men everywhere, "Get out of Babylon quickly, or be destroyed," don't you think we ought to know what Babylon is? Do you know what it is? Are you in Babylon, by any chance? Can you be sure? One day during this series we are going to spend a broadcast talking about it. There is an entire prophecy in the book of Revelation that tells exactly what it is. We are going to show you from the book of God; this is also a part of the last warning message.

Now let's illustrate why. Suppose God said to Noah, "Noah, a flood is coming, and I want you to tell this generation of people that they are going to be destroyed." And Noah would have said, "That is really a wonderful new doctrine, but you know, I've been over to the University studying psychology and I've learned quite a bit about psychoanalysis. I think I'll speak on that topic for awhile and see what I can do for the people." Would that have been all right? Or suppose he would have told about the philosophies of the great men of the world. Would that have been all right? No, indeed! It would have been criminal, because one thing only counted; the world was going down quickly. God said, "You warn the people." He had to give them the present truth. The same thing applies today; preaching and teaching must include Revelation 14:6-12, because this is God's last warning. The Lord knew what He wanted and He placed it here in the Bible word-for-word. Now if the Lord was so anxious about this message that He put it here word-for-word, dare any of us treat that message lightly? Indeed not!

Did you ever read Matthew 24:14? "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." If that means anything at all, it simply means that this great message, part of which is Revelation 14:6-12, must encircle the globe; everyone must have an opportunity to hear; and as soon as this happens, Christ will return. Perhaps you say, "This is the first time I've ever heard of it. I just wonder what progress this great message is making." Let me tell you something, friends. Right now this message is being made available to 98.5% of the world's population. Now don't misunderstand me. Not all those people are listening to it, nor are all of them accepting it, by any means; but it is available. It is going as a witness to those people. In Romans 9:28 we read, "For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth," God says He will finish it. If He said that, my friends, I know that God is going to do that very thing.

Let's go back to the story of Nineveh. One lone man, a prophet, was commissioned to go to that city; and he walked in there, preaching to a city of maybe 200,000. He had no publicity committee, no evangelistic company, no tent, no tabernacle, no money, no radio, no newspaper advertisement. Can you believe it? All he had was himself. No pulpit, even, not even a church; no backing, nothing. He started down the street and started preaching to them, and in the short time of 40 days he preached that whole city into repentance and conversion. He turned that whole city back to God by his preaching of the Word. God did that once by one man. He can do it again. His message is going with great power right now. Very, very soon Jesus is coming again. We are living in the last moment of this earth's history. There is no question about it. God help us to be ready for that glorious day.

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