Voices From Heaven

Scripture: Matthew 24:14, Revelation 14:6, Revelation 18:2-4
When will the end of the world come? The Bible tells us that the gospel will be preached to all the world, then the end will come. What is this gospel message? This broadcast looks at what the Bible says about the everlasting gospel.
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Friends, did you read about the Japanese soldier who was discovered hiding on the island of Guam? Twenty-eight years after World War II, this man did not know that the war was over. He was afraid of the enemy American armies, and he was afraid his own country would not understand his long absence and would charge him with being absent without leave. So he subsisted for twenty-eight years on roots and berries and food he could scrounge from the jungle. When he was discovered by hunters his first question was whether President Roosevelt was still alive. Time had passed him by. He was flown back to Japan to a heroes welcome on the first jet plane he had ever seen, there to gape at a new world of electronics, of magic and wonder that he could not begin to comprehend.

Somehow the message had not reached him about the end of the war. He knew the Japanese army was in retreat, but he refused to believe it or accept it. Somehow, he reasoned, his army would come back and he could escape capture by the enemy.

There is a tragic reminder in this incident, friends, relating to the message that didn't get through. That man could have saved himself years of privation, suffering and fear if the message of truth had reached him in time. Nothing in the world was more vital to that Japanese soldier than to get the message that the war was over, fighting had ended. He was safe.

And nothing else in the whole world is half so important today as hearing and understanding another special message that God is trying to get through to every man, woman and child. It is even more urgent than the news about the Japanese surrender because it contains the last warning message that God will ever send to the inhabitants of this earth.

Now why do I say that and how can I know that it is so important? Friends, I know it because Jesus said it. And He said it so clearly that none need to be confused over it. Here is His statement in Matthew 24:14, and you probably know the verse very well: "For this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come." Please notice that Jesus pinpoints the end of the world and describes a special message that must go to all nations just before the end comes. And I submit to you today that our greatest need is to know and follow that everlasting Gospel message, whatever it is.

All right, can we discover what that final message is, and how it relates to us? We certainly can, friends, because John describes the same message as it goes forth to every nation as a witness. In other words, what Christ predicted, John saw fulfilled. Here is the way the Revelator described it in Revelation 14:6. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwelt on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice ... ." Now I want to stop there before reading the actual description of the message. Can't you see that this is exactly what Christ was predicting in Matthew 24:14? Jesus called it the Gospel; John called it the Gospel. Jesus said it would go to all nations, and John said to "every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Jesus said as soon as it has gone as a witness to all nations "then shall the end come," and John said the same thing, because, after he described the message he said this in verse 14: "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, and another angel came out of the temple crying ... thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

So there it is, friends, as soon as the everlasting Gospel has been preached to every nation, Christ will come to reap the harvest of the earth. No wonder this special chapter of Revelation is one of the most urgent in all the Bible. It describes that message which constitutes the final call of God to all mankind.

But let's get down to specifics, now, and read the actual wording of the message. Here is how John described it, "... saying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment is come." Now let's pause just a moment to let that sink in. Did you know that was in the Bible? Did you know that God's message for today is that the judgment "is come," in the present tense? That is right, the truth is that a part of the judgment is going on right now, and most people don't even know it. If you would like to know more about this, let's continue to read the rest of this special last day message.

John continues in Revelation 14:8: "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." Now let me say right here that this is not talking about the old historic city of Babylon. It is describing the harlot of Revelation 17 who has her name written on her forehead "Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots." You read it in Revelation 17:1-5.

In Bible prophecy a woman represents a church, or a religious system. And this is a fallen church, an apostate religion which God calls Babylon because Babylon means confusion. This false religion of the last days is so spiritually wrong, that God even calls for people to separate from her. Here it is in Revelation 18:2-4: "And he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen ... and I heard another voice from heaven saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Did you know that was in the Bible, friends? The great majority of Christians today don't even know who Babylon is, or how she has fallen, or how to come out of her. And yet it is a part of the last warning message of God which is now going to all the earth.

Now let's look at the last part of this final message for our day. Here is the actual wording of this fantastic warning in Revelation 14:9, 10: "lf 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 ... ."

Friends, what a terrifying text that is. Do you realize that this is the most fearful punishment described anywhere in the Bible? Think of it! This is talking about the lake of fire, hellfire. Those who follow the beast or receive the mark of the beast are absolutely without hope. Not only will they be shut out of heaven, but they suffer the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture. This is the only time that God punishes anyone without any mercy. Do you know what the wrath of God is?

In Revelation 15:1 we are told, concerning the seven last plagues, that "... in them is filled up the wrath of God." And if you have any question about these seven last plagues, read Revelation chapter 16. You will get a picture of water turned to blood, the sun scorching men with unbearable heat, horrible, incurable cancerous sores, darkness that can be felt, and finally hailstones weighing fifty-seven pounds a piece. And who will receive the plagues? Those who follow the beast and receive his mark.

How many Christians really understand this subject? I tell you, the average Christian hasn't any idea whatsoever about the identity of the beast yet God says it is life or death. It is literally suicide for a person to close his ears to this message of God. Away with this idea that the book of Revelation is a sealed book, and cannot be understood. Is God going to warn us of the dreadful danger of following the beast, and then refuse to tell us who the beast is? Absolutely not!

Now, I understand as well as you how much guessing and speculating has been done about this subject. But, don't you think for a moment that the Bible is unclear about the identity of this beast power. It is abundantly clear. And if you really want to understand, God will make a way for your questions to be answered, but before I say more about that crucial subject now, let me settle this business about the book of Revelation as a closed book. Somehow the idea has gotten around that nobody can understand that last book of the Bible. Even a lot of preachers claim the idea that it is a sealed book, a mysterious combination of symbols that none can unscramble. Friends, this is the farthest from the truth.

I would like for you to note what God himself has said about it in the book of Revelation. This is Revelation 22:10, "And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book for the time is at hand."

It is not closed; it is not sealed; it never has been. And going back to the very first chapter in the book, Revelation 1:3: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep these things which are written therein; for the time is at hand."

Now, friends, isn't that clear and plain? You see, the book of Revelation says about itself that it is not a closed book, it never has been, and the person is blessed who reads it and understands it and knows what it is talking about and does what it says because the time is at hand. You see, the devil himself invented this theory, this idle tale, this prevarication that the book of Revelation is a closed book. Now he wants you to believe that, because the devil well knows that the last warning message that is to go to this world is found in this book. And the devil well knows that if you do not understand the book of Revelation, you are going to be lost, and so, of course, he invented the big lie that the book of Revelation was closed, and it is taught in many churches today that the book of Revelation is not supposed to be understood.

All right, we have briefly reviewed the great threefold warning message which Jesus and John declared to be the last call to this world. What could possibly be more demanding and urgent than to understand that chapter of the Bible. The great climax of the warning builds around the beast of Revelation 13. Would you like to hear God's description of the beast? I will read it from Revelation 13:1-3: "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."

Now perhaps as I read that through, you were thinking why, oh why, did God write Revelation in symbols? I can't understand the meaning of "beast" and all those symbols. They don't mean a thing in the world to me. Why didn't He come right out and say what He wanted to say?"

Well, I will tell you why. The enemies of God's truth are unmasked in the book of Revelation and, dear friends of mine, if God had printed this book and written it out like He did the other books of the Bible, the enemies of God's truth who are unmasked in it would have ripped that section out of the Bible many years ago, and you would not find it as part of the Word of God today. But since it is symbolic, and the enemies of God's truth do not understand it, it has remained and that is exactly why God spoke in symbols.

But those symbols are explained in the Bible so that we can understand the prophecies. Keys are provided throughout the Scriptures which unlock the prophetic expressions and symbolic terms.

Just as God had a purpose in Noah's message and in the message to Sodom and Gomorrah and in the message of John the Baptist, so also does God have a purpose in the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14. In Revelation 14:12 we read, "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Here we see portrayed the group who are prepared for the coming of Jesus by heeding the messages of the three angels. They are keeping God's commandments, and they have the faith of Jesus. Their acceptance of God's message has prepared them for heaven. This is God's purpose in this three-fold message.

My friends, today God expects those living in this tremendous day to heed His message, this message of warning, this message of love. This is a message of salvation. It cuts down through the ages, across every denominational line, just as did the message of John. It is calling men and women to prepare for the coming of Christ. It is warning of the hour of God's judgment, that it is present. It is calling men and women unto the worship of God as the Creator and the acceptance of His sacred sign that He did create the world. It is calling God's children out of spiritual Babylon. It is warning against the following of the influence of the beast or its image or receiving its mark. It is a message that is calling individuals to the high and holy godliness of living in the beautiful grace of the faith of Jesus and walking humbly according to the commandments of God. These truths are truths that are not for any particular sect or denomination, but these are God's truths for the whole world in this last day.

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