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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig

Revelation 7 (NKJV™)
1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
3 saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
16 "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;
17 "for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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What's Next?

During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. Good News in the Midst of Bad News (Revelation 6:9-11, 17)

  2. God’s Protection for God’s People (Revelation 7:1-4)

  3. Great Multitudes Experience Great Salvation (Revelation 7:9-17)


Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: February 14, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The World's Greatest Revival"
Text: Revelation 7

Path

During the earth's greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, the gospel will be preached during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period:
    1. Good News in the Midst of Bad News (Revelation 6:9-11, 17)
    2. God's Protection for God's People (Revelation 7:1-4)
    3. Great Multitudes Experience Great Salvation (Revelation 7:9-17)
Points

Good News in the Midst of Bad News (Revelation 6:9-11, 17)
  • In the midst of the terror of the tribulation, God will work within two groups: the 144,000 and the unnumbered multitude.
    • The first group is 144,000 "sealed" messianic Jews, with 12,000 from each tribe.
    • God will use the Jews in the end times for specific reasons:
      • The God-breathed Bible came through the Jewish nation.
      • The Savior came through the Jewish nation.
      • God has promised to protect and keep His people (see Romans 9-11).
  • Probe: There is only one Savior who saves Jew and Gentile alike, both in this age of grace and in the coming judgment. God has at least one great revival left on His divine calendar. Knowing there is good news in the midst of bad news, how can you share the gospel in times of trial and tribulation?
God's Protection for God's People (Revelation 7:1-4)
  • God will send out the 144,000 Jews to serve as a witness for Him in a world under strict judgment. God will preserve and protect them and make them unyielding in their witness, so they can give a strong gospel witness to the world.
  • These 144,000 witnesses will help fulfill a prophecy Jesus made shortly before His crucifixion: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
  • Probe: How is God protecting you in the midst of the trials and temptations you face in your life?
Great Multitudes Experience Great Salvation (Revelation 7:9-17)
  • The second group God will work with is an unnumbered multitude, a group vastly larger than the 144,000 witnesses. They are Gentiles from all nations (see v. 9), standing triumphantly and waving palm branches.
  • John does not seem to know where they came from (see vv. 13-14). They are not the church. They are described as "the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (v. 14). It is likely that they are the fruit of the witness of the 144,000.
  • Probe: With God saving both Jews and Gentiles during the great tribulation—a time of unprecedented trial—what does this tell us about God's character? In theology, this is called omni-benevolence, a word meaning all good. How is God's goodness manifest during the trials in your own life?
Practice

Connect Up: God never changes. His heart toward His creation is one of love. How is God's love demonstrated even in times of destruction? How can you seek God when you are in your own distressing times?

Connect In: How does revival affect you as a believer? What is the proper response to God growing His kingdom? Praise? Partnership? Both? How can we be prepared to welcome people into the local church when God works in mighty ways?

Connect Out: Take time to pray for family and friends who don't know the Lord. Develop a strategy of ministering to them, inviting them to church or providing them with the tools (books, CDs, etc.) they need to answer questions. Give them an opportunity to hear the gospel, and allow God to work a revival in the hearts of people one life at a time.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. There is a time coming in the future that will be the worst in human history physically
    2. It will also be the best time spiritually
    3. A great, incredible revival
    4. Past revivals in history
      1. The book of Acts
      2. The Great Reformation
      3. The Welsh Revival
      4. The Moravian Movement
      5. The Great Awakening
      6. D.L. Moody and Jeremiah Lanphier
      7. The Jesus Movement
      8. Modern revival currently happening in China
    5. These all pale in comparison to the worldwide response that will occur during the tribulation
      1. Will sweep the globe like never before
      2. People from every nation will be saved
      3. When the world is at its lowest
  2. Good News in the Midst of Bad News (Revelation 6:9-11, 17)
    1. Introduces us to two groups who will be able to stand in that time of tribulation
    2. The fifth seal: souls under the altar (see Revelation 6:9-11)
    3. The tribulation is going to be the worst time ever
      1. Trumpet judgments (see Revelation 8-9)
        1. Hail and fire
          1. Grass is scorched
          2. Water is dried up
        2. Hell is opened and demons are released
      2. Bowl judgments (see Revelation 16)
        1. Sores
        2. Water sources poisoned
        3. Sun scorches people
        4. Hail
    4. The tribulation period will be:
      1. A time of divine reckoning: God will show He is supreme over nature
      2. A time of demonic troublemaking: Satan and his demons will be very active
      3. A time of spiritual outpouring
        1. This is the heart of God
        2. God's heart is to save (see 2 Peter 3:9)
        3. In His wrath, remember His mercy (see 1 Timothy 2:4)
    5. How will people be saved if the church has been raptured?
      1. Two witnesses (see Revelation 11:1-14)
        1. They will come to the city of Jerusalem
        2. They will do miraculous works
        3. The whole world will be watching them
      2. 144,000 Jewish evangelists
      3. An angel will fly about the earth preaching the gospel (see Revelation 14:6)
  3. God's Protection for God's People (Revelation 7:1-4)
    1. 144,000 witnesses will consist of 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel
    2. The Jews have always had a special place in prophetic plan
      1. God made covenants with them throughout Scripture
      2. Three-fourths of the Bible is about the Hebrew people
      3. They are God's chosen people
      4. The prophetic calendar given to Daniel
    3. The tribulation is in part to prepare Israel to receive Jesus as their Messiah
      1. They rejected Jesus the first time
      2. All Israel will be saved
    4. The seal
      1. An imprint made by a signet ring in wax
      2. Represents ownership and protection
      3. We have been sealed (see Ephesians 1:13)
    5. The 144,000 are saved Jewish people (Revelation 14:4)
      1. Firstfruits of God
      2. Their ancestors were sealed in Egypt: Passover blood was the seal (see Exodus 12:12-13)
      3. Rahab put a scarlet thread outside her house: seal of her faith in God (see Joshua 2:17-18)
      4. Ezekiel 9:4-5
    6. They will become evangelists in the tribulation
  4. Great Multitudes Experience Great Salvation (Revelation 7:9-17)
    1. The group of people John saw were standing, unlike the elders that represent the church, who were seated
      1. Not the church; they are the now-saved people from the tribulation
      2. From all nations
      3. They wore white robes signifying sanctification
      4. Palm branches signify joy and worship
    2. God will wipe away every tear
    3. Once they are in heaven, they will no longer suffer as they did during the tribulation on earth
    4. The 144,000 will be saved largely due to the two witnesses
    5. The other group mentioned will be saved largely due to the witness of the 144,000
    6. In Matthew 24, Jesus talked about the end times and the tribulation
  5. Closing
    1. God will use the world's greatest mess to bring about the greatest revival
    2. God wants you to change your mess into something amazing
    3. Roll over your burden to the Lord

Figures referenced: Jeremiah Lanphier, D.L. Moody

Cross references: Exodus 12:12-13; Joshua 2:17-18; Ezekiel 9:4-5; Matthew 24; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 6:9-11; 8-9; 11:1-14; 14:4, 6; 16


Topic: Revival

Keywords: revival, tribulation, judgments, Satan, demons, rapture, witnesses, evangelists, evangelism, Messiah, seal, elders, the church, comfort, end times

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this teaching from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. As these teachings are shared worldwide, our prayer is that God uses them to draw people to himself. If this message resonates with you, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can get online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

We look forward to the day that God calls us home. And in the next installment of our series What's Next?, we find out what will happen on earth after God raptures His church. As Skip shares the message The World's Greatest Revival, we'll learn how the world's greatest trial will also become the greatest opportunity for salvation. Now let's turn our Bibles to Revelation chapter seven as Skip begins.

Turn to Revelation chapter seven please If you would. Revelation chapter seven. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Recognize that? The opening line of Charles Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There is coming a period in the future when it could best be characterized by that line in Dickens' book. It will be a period of history in the future that will be the worst time in human history.

But at the same time, it could be said it will be the best time in human history. It will be the worst time physically, but it could be the best time spiritually. It will be great tribulation, but it will also be great salvation. It will be an intense time of trouble. It will be an immense time of revival. That is coming in the future, a great incredible revival.

Now when you hear the word "revival", maybe your mind goes back to some of the revivals you have heard about in history. I think of what happened in the book of Acts. That was revival. Holy Spirit moved through Jerusalem and thousands upon thousands of people gave their lives to Christ. My mind goes back to Europe and the great reformation period or the Welsh revival. Or if you know your church history, the Moravian movement under Jan Huss and Count Zinzendorf.

I think of the Great Awakening in 18th century America when I think of revival. Or the revivals in New York and Chicago under Dwight Moody and Jeremiah Lanphier. All of those come to my mind when I think of revival. I think of the '60s and '70s in America with the Jesus movement sweeping so many young people off their spiritual feet, self included. Great revival. I even think of modern revival. Right now I've heard that in China under the government controlled, communist government controlled, churches the three-self movement churches, there's an incredible revival happening.

All of those revivals, I believe, pale in comparison to what revival is coming to planet earth. The greatest revival is yet to come. It will be a worldwide response to the gospel. It will far exceed any in history. It will sweep through the earth in a very short period of time. It will produce a vast multitude of saved people from virtually every nation.

One commentator says it will be the greatest movement of God's saving power the world will ever see. Revival. Have you ever seen those church signs that say revival on it? Have you ever driven by a church that says revival? It's funny. Sometimes it'll say revival tonight, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. As if you can schedule when God's going to revive something. I've always been fascinated by that. Revival.

I heard about preacher at a revival meeting. He was scheduled to preach 25 minutes. They could never asked me to do that. I don't clear my throat in 20 minutes. So they wanted him to preach 25 minutes. He preached 25 and then 30 and then 35 and then 45. And he went an hour and then he went an hour and 10 minutes. Well, people were sick of it, falling asleep.

One guy decided, he was in the back row, he decided to take a hymnal and throw it at the preacher. So he tossed this hymnal across the church at the preacher. It didn't hit the preacher, it hit the guy in the front row who was asleep. Got beaned by a hymnal. As he's falling to the ground, the man who was hit said, hit me again. I can still hear him preaching. Revival.

When the world will be hit the hardest, will come some of the greatest activity in terms of salvation. What I want you to notice with me in chapter seven is that three astonishing discoveries can be made about this coming great tribulation period. The first is there will be good news in the midst of bad news. The second, there will be God's protection for God's covenant people. And the third, there will be great multitudes who will experience great salvation.

I'll tell you why that's important. It's important to some of you, because I've gotten your questions. Questions like, well, if the church goes up in the rapture, what about my relatives and my friends who have not responded? Does that mean that the door of opportunity is closed for people to be saved during that time? And the answer is an absolute unequivocal no. God's Spirit will still be moving incredibly on planet earth.

So let's consider the good news in the midst of the bad news. I want to draw your attention to chapter six. You say, you did that last time. I know that. But before chapter seven, verse one is chapter six, verse 17. Look at the last verse of the previous chapter. It says, "For the great day of his wrath has come. And who is able to stand?" You see that question? Who is able to stand during the lamb's wrath? That question is answered in chapter seven. Chapter seven is the answer to the question in chapter six. Chapter seven introduces us to two groups who are able to stand during that period of tribulation, the wrath of God.

Now here's something that will help you. And there's a pattern in the Book of Revelation. It's a hard book for some people to read because of the judgments that are one on top of another. But the way it's written is you have chapters that are written that tells you bad stuff, bad stuff, bad stuff. And then all of a sudden, you have a parenthetical chapter, a pause. Sort of a pause so you could take a breath. I mean, this is bad. So we get a pause here in chapter seven. We're introduced to two groups. And then more bad stuff is predicted. And then you'll get a couple chapters where there will be a pause. And then that pattern goes through the book.

So this is the first pause, the first parenthetical chapter. And so the question who is able to stand, and then two groups are introduced. And something else-- back in chapter six, though we did not cover it yet, we covered four of the seven seals. The fifth seal that is broken open, the seal that announces another judgment, is all about martyrs, people who are killed because they believe in Jesus Christ during that tribulation period.

They're wearing white robes and they're before the throne of God. So just reading that and reading this chapter, we understand somebody is getting saved during the tribulation period because there's martyrs. They have a relationship with God. It happens during the tribulation. There's good news in the midst of bad news.

So here's something I think I hope you know by now. The tribulation is really, really, really, really bad. Right? We've discovered that so far. Jesus said it will be the worst time ever. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, the worst time ever. We saw last week when we met a leader comes on the scene, promises peace. He's a slick politician. It doesn't happen. He brings in war, famine, and death. A quarter of the earth's population is decimated. That's pretty bad.

And so you might be wondering, well, could it get any worse? I mean, that's bad. How bad could it be? Well Jesus said, that's just the beginning of sorrows. It can get really bad. In fact, after the seven seals come seven trumpet judgments. And just listen to these. I'll sum it up for you. In Revelation eight, hail and fire come from the sky. It falls in the water sources of the earth including the rivers and the springs. The grass on earth, or a lot of it, is burned up, the vegetation.

In Revelation nine, the bottomless pit is opened. Hell belches out its demons in the form of designer locusts that torment people on the earth for several months. Then after that, we get seven bulls. Bull judgments poured out upon the earth. Chapter 16, malignant sores. Water sources are poisoned. The sun scorches people on the earth. Hail comes out of heaven. Not like hail in Albuquerque, but 100-pound hailstones.

So there's smoke, fire, heat, lightning, darkness, beasts, falling stars, the bottomless pit is opened, the devil and his angels are extremely active. That's really bad. Sounds like a really gnarly country song, doesn't it? Just one bad thing on top of another happens. So to sum it all up, the tribulation period will be a period of divine reckoning where God shows that he is supreme over nature and over nations.

Second, it will be a time of demonic trouble making. Satan will take advantage of the pandemonium, the confusion on the earth. And he and his demon hordes will be very active. So it's a time of divine reckoning, demonic trouble making. But third, the tribulation will be a time of spiritual outpouring, spiritual awakening.

And you need to know this is the heart of God. It is not God's heart to judge. It's God's heart to save. What did Peter say? God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So his merciful heart is to reach out to people even in the worst time, especially in the worst time of their life. That's his mercy. That's his long suffering. Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter two. And he says, he desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

OK, so some of you might have another question. I get it a lot. And that is how will it be possible for people to be saved in the tribulation if indeed the church is taken up before the tribulation? I mean, who's going to preach them? I'm glad you asked that question. Because they will be able to hear the gospel from a few different sources.

Number one, there will be two witnesses introduced in chapter 11. Some people guess as to the identity of the two witnesses, unimportant. What you need to know is two witnesses come to Israel, come to the city of Jerusalem. Not only do they have a message, but they can do miraculous works. They will get people's attention. The Bible says the whole world will be watching them. That's not even possible before the advent of satellite television. John made that prediction 2,000 years ago. The world will be watching them at one time.

So there will be two witnesses in Jerusalem doing miraculous works. That's number one. Number two, there's going to be 144,000 Jewish evangelists unleashed on the earth. And number three, there's going to be an angel flying in the atmosphere of the Earth around the earth preaching the gospel. So all that the church hasn't been able to do for 2,000 years, the angel will do in a couple days.

Listen to what it says, Revelation chapter 14, verse six, "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-- to every nation, to every tribe, to every tongue and people." So God's salvation will be on display at the most unexpected time. There's going to be good news in the midst of bad news. That's the first amazing discovery.

Here's the second one. There will be during that time God's protection for God's people, for his covenant people. Verse one of chapter seven, "After these things, I saw fours angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea saying, 'Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on there foreheads.' And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed."

And just so there's no mistake as to who they are, the children of Israel, from verse five to verse eight, there are 12 tribes that are mentioned. See it? All the way beginning with the tribe of Judah, ending with the tribe of Benjamin. There are 12 tribes enumerated. 12,000 sealed out of those 12 tribes.

I've always been amused at how many groups of people try to identify with the 144,000. We're the 144,000. The Jehovah Witnesses have done that. Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God for years said they're the 144,000. Seventh Day Adventists claim to be the 144,000. Who are the 144,000? Thank you. You've read it. It says so right here. You don't have to guess who they are. They are Jews. They're of the children of Israel. And here are the tribes listed just so you won't misunderstand. These are Jewish people.

Why? The Jews have always had a special place in God's prophetic plan. God made covenants with the Jewish nation throughout history. Do you know that 3/4 of your Bible is about the Hebrew race? 3/4 of the Bible you hold in your hands is about the Jewish nation. Most every author of scripture, Jewish. The apostles of Jesus Christ, all Jewish. Jesus himself, our Savior, was Jewish. The first church in Jerusalem, a Jewish congregation. The prophetic calendar given to Daniel the prophet is all about Jerusalem and the Jewish nation the angel said to him.

So Paul summed it all up in Romans chapter nine by saying this, there's-- that is, the Jews-- there's is the adoption as sons. There's the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises. There's are the patriarchs. And from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God overall, forever praised.

You see, the tribulation, in part, is to prepare Israel to receive its messiah. That's why it's called the time of Jacob's trouble. The tribulation is given that title in Jeremiah 30. A time of Jacob, or Israel's, trouble. It's to prepare Israel to nationally receive Jesus as the messiah. They don't do that today. They didn't do it the first time he came. It says he came into his own and his own received him not.

But that day will end one day. And many will be saved and sealed. 144,000 saved and sealed. Now, it says they were sealed. By now you know what a seal is, right? Not just a little animal that does that. But you know that a seal was a little wax imprint made by a ring. And we saw it on the scrolls of the one sitting on the throne of heaven that had to be unfurled. So a seal was a piece of wax. And an impression was made upon that wax with a signet ring.

the seal meant two things. It meant ownership and it meant protection. I own it. There's my ring, my signet ring, my signature. And I will protect it. We've been sealed. Ephesians chapter one, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise unto the day of redemption. These are saved Jewish people. And how do I know that for certain? Because we see them again in Revelation 14. They have survived the tribulation period. They have been protected by God during this time. And they show up again on Mount Zion with Jesus Christ, the lamb.

And when they show up in Revelation 14, this is what it says of them, they are redeemed from the earth. And they follow the lamb wherever he goes. They are redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits to God. So if the Bible says these 144,000 are Jews and they're redeemed, guess what, I believe they're Jews and they're redeemed. They're saved Jewish people protected during the tribulation period.

Sealed, just like their ancestors were sealed when they left Egypt. And they fled. And that night they put the blood of the lamb on the door posts and lentils. And the blood was the seal that they were to be passed over. Or Rahab the harlot who put that scarlet cord out of her house in Jericho so the people would not capture her house or destroy her people. That was the seal of her faith in God.

And there's a better example than even those two. In fact, it is the example of which Revelation seven is taken from. It's in Ezekiel nine. I'll just mention it to you. And for those Bible nerds, you know what I'm talking about already. If you're a Bible nerd, God bless you. I am among your company. But Ezekiel nine is sort of an obscure passage for some.

But here's what it says. God tell someone to go through Jerusalem with an ink horn and mark with ink the foreheads of those Jews who are sighing and crying because of all the sins and abominations committed in their city. God says, I will spare them from judgment. And so like that, 144,000 are sealed and protected by God during that tribulation period.

What is their purpose? What's the purpose of God doing this with 144,000 Jewish people? Why? I believe they will become evangelists during the tribulation period. Have you ever seen a born again Jewish person? Ever talked to one? They are a force to be reckoned with. When you find a messianic Jew, somebody who was raised Jewish who comes to believe in Jesus as the messiah, look out.

Listen, the world in the first century heard the gospel around the known world because of 12 Jewish apostles. They turned the world upside down. Imagine 144,000 of those dudes. I was online this week and I found this little clip. I think it was a YouTube clip by an orthodox Jew raised in an orthodox Jewish family. You just look at him and you go, that guy's like a rabbi or something.

And he did a little video clip called "I Met The Messiah". And he gives his testimony of how he came to faith in Yeshua, Jesus Christ as the messiah promised in the Old Testament. It's so compelling. But it went viral. Within a short time, 8,750,000 hits. Imagine 144,000 of those guys. And they will be out in force. They will come to faith in Christ. And they are the firstfruits it says of the Jewish nation that will be saved during that time. So God's protection for God's people.

Here's the third and final discovery of the tribulation period that is encouraging. There will be great multitudes that experience great salvation. Not just 144,000. Ah, watch this. Verse nine of Revelation seven, "After these things, I looked. And behold, a great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues standing before the thrown." Now when it says no one can number, it doesn't mean that they were unable to be counted. It just means that no one person could stand there and count accurately how many were in that crowd. It doesn't mean that you couldn't affix a number to it. But one person couldn't tell you.

And they are from, notice, "all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb.'" These are saved, praising people.

"All the angel stood around the throne. And the elders and the four living creatures, they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God saying, 'Amen. Blessing and glory and wisdom. Thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.' Then one of the elders answered saying to me, 'Who are these arrayed in white robes? Where did they come from?' I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' He said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and wash their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.'" That's all salvation language.

"'Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in his temple. And he who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore. The sun shall not strike them, nor any heat. For the lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"

There's a lot there. But notice a few things. Number one, they're standing. They're not seated. They're standing. This indicates, first of all, this group is not the church. Because the 24 elders are seated in heaven. John knew who they were. They represented the church as we've looked at in previous studies. He doesn't recognize this group. When the elder says who are they? John goes, I don't know. You know. And the question was asked so it could be answered. These are the ones who are washed with blood. In other words, these are saved people from the tribulation.

Look at verse nine. It describes their ethnicity. They're from virtually every culture, descent, race, and language. And notice, they're also wearing white robes. This describes their spirituality. In chapter six there's a group of martyrs under the altar that cry out to God. That's the fifth seal. They're wearing the same thing, white robes like this.

So as the tribulation wears on, all those judgments, all that persecution from Antichrist, the number of martyrs, people who believe in Christ who will be killed for their faith, will just rise and rise and rise and rise. That number will be added to. These have palm branches in their hands. That describes their festivity. In the celebratory feasts of Israel, especially the Feast of Tabernacles, you still see it today, they wave palm branches all around symbolizing their worship, symbolizing their joy.

Look at verse 17. It's the best part. God will wipe away every tear. They're not going to hunger anymore. They're not going to thirst anymore. The sun isn't going to scorch them anymore. What does that mean? Well, it means that during the tribulation period, they will have hungered. Because the Bible says you won't be able to buy or sell anything unless you take a mark of the beast. They have refused to do that. They will have starved because of it. They're not going to thirst anymore. The sources of water on the earth will have been polluted by the judgments of God. That's over.

And it says, they won't be scorched anymore. The sun, Revelation 16, will scorch people on the earth in an unprecedented manner. But God will wipe away every tear. What a great promise that is. Listen, God's handkerchief is the only one that could wipe away every tear. You could wipe away somebody's tear, another one will replace it very shortly.

I've always loved the story of an elderly couple. It's Valentine's Day so-- this elderly couple, they had been married for years. The wife was on her deathbed. Her husband was sitting at the edge of her bed holding hands. They both knew that she had a very short time before she would die. She was in and out of consciousness.

And she woke up at one point and she knew it was just moments away before she'd take her last breath. And she looked over at her husband. Their eyes met. And a tear rolled down her cheek. And her husband gently wiped it away with his handkerchief and said to her with a smile, "Thank God, Mary. That's the last one." And then she went in the glory.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Can't wait. What we're reading about is worldwide revival. A multitude so big no one person could count them from every place on earth, every language, every background, saved, singing songs of praise. How do they get saved? My guess, no, my conviction, my strong belief, is they get saved as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

I think that largely the 144,000 come to Christ by the witness of the two witnesses that come to Israel, Jerusalem. 144,000 unleashed on the earth will produce by their preaching this innumerable multitude. Besides, the angel flying through heaven preaching the gospel. I mean, come on. There's going to be a lot of opportunities.

So I believe that this is a result of the 144,000 preaching. And I believe that as a logical deduction and as a theological conclusion. Let me explain. It's a logical deduction. They're the only two groups mentioned in this chapter. And one follows the other. So if I look at it sequentially, one is the result of what happened to the first. That's the logical deduction.

But there's a theological conclusion. You see, Jesus already tells us in Matthew 24 what the tribulation is going to be like, right? In fact, the book of Revelation is sort of just an amplified version of Matthew chapter 24 where Jesus talks about the tribulation. And this is what he says. Listen to the sequence. "And this gospel--" Jesus said, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. And then the end shall come." This gospel will be preached around the world to all nations. And then the end will come.

I don't know how many times I've heard that verse butchered by well-meaning missionaries or pastors saying, listen, we've got to get the gospel out around the world because then Jesus can come. Let's hasten the day of the Lord. Let's bring Jesus back. That's like trying to schedule revival from 7 to 9.

Jesus will come back when his father thinks and knows it's the right time and not before and not after. And no individual or no church can schedule the return of Jesus Christ. That is not what that verse means at all. He is speaking of the tribulation period when in the midst of mayhem and famine and death and persecution, the gospel will have a worldwide impact. And then the end will come. And so we may be wondering what that means in Matthew 24. By the time we read the book of Revelation, we understand, oh, there's two witnesses and 144,000 and an angel preaching the gospel. And then the end will come.

Here's what I like to think. Here's what I like to boil it down to a irreducible minimum. When the world will experience its greatest mess, God will still be preaching the greatest message. The greatest message of the gospel will be inculcated and permeating into the greatest mess the world will ever know. I love that. God loves your mess. He has a message for you to change that mess into something different.

I want you to think of your life for a minute. What's your life like? You might say, it's sort of like what Dickens said. It's the best of times, it's the worst of times. It's good, it's bad. There's some good stuff, there's some bad stuff. Maybe you're facing some challenges, conflicts, struggles. I want you to hand that over to God this morning. I don't want you to walk out these doors with that burden on your shoulder. I want you to roll it over onto God. I know some of you are thinking, oh God's tired of hearing from me. I've done this. He's heard that voice and that plea so many times. He's sees me coming. He goes, oh, it's you again.

There was a woman in a worship service. And the closing hymn was "We Exalt Thee, Oh Lord". Remember that? We exalt thee. And her hands were raised up. She was singing. Next to her was her three-year-old daughter. And you know, kids hear words differently, right? They say words differently. My grandson last night said happy "Valentime's" Day, Papa. That was so cute. It doesn't get any better than that, "Valentime's" Day.

So she's singing, "We exalt thee, oh Lord." Her three-year-old daughter next to her was singing, "We exhaust thee, oh Lord." we exhaust thee. I'm here to tell you, you cannot exhaust God. He doesn't get tired of hearing the burden you have. If I learned anything from Revelation seven, it's that even in the worst of times, God can make it the best of times. He can do that for you. You turn that over to him. You roll that over onto him. You let him carry that burden. Oh, I'm going through a tribulation. Let it be the best season of your life. Watch what he can do with it.

I love what happened when the little boy walked into the pet store and he was looking for a puppy. Dad said, you can have anyone you want. And he saw a little puppy wagging its tail. He goes, I want the one with a happy ending. Isn't that what we all want? Don't we want the life with the happy ending? The story with a happy ending? Well, there is a happy ending. The book will get incredibly awesome, the book of Revelation. But there is this, the tribulation. There are these, the judgments of God, the activity of Satan. But it will also be a time of great revival and great salvation.

Here's the deal. That's going to happen. We don't know when. But it'll happen in the future. It could happen shortly in the future. We're waiting for the Lord to come back. It could happen, I believe, at any moment. It might not. But we're not living in the great tribulation right now. I know things are bad out there. But life's good in the neighborhood of the earth compared to what's coming.

Right now is the day of grace. It's the age of grace. It's the age of opportunity for anyone at any time to say yes to Jesus. And you're probably not going to be killed for your faith tomorrow walking through Albuquerque. So life's pretty good right now. And you have an opportunity now to say yes to Jesus Christ before that age of grace finally closes. And it will close one day.

Why would you ever want to wait? When God says, I will forgive you now. I will push the reset button. I will give you would do over. Why would you say, I don't know, I'm going to think about that? I'll forgive you of all your past. I don't know. Well, you can go to heaven. I don't know if I want to go heaven. There's a good restaurant around the corner, I'd kind of rather go visit that. What? Well, it's an opportunity. And it's your choice.

So Father, we pray. That's what we can do. We can preach. And we can pray. And we can hope. And we can watch you move. And I pray for those who may be gathered with us who haven't yet said yes to Jesus personally. They may be churchgoers. They may have a tacit belief and understanding of spiritual things. But it's not a real dynamic daily experience. They're not walking with the Lord.

Some others have wandered away from you and they need to come back home. Would you do the convincing, Lord? Would you do the conviction, Holy Spirit? And draw those who need to come to your salvation to come. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. Mine will be open. If you are willing to give your life to Jesus Christ, to ask him to save you, to forgive you, to give you eternal life, you're willing to come to him, you're willing to turn away from your sins and turn to Jesus Christ as your savior, or if you need to come back after wandering away from him, whatever it might be, would you raise your hand up in the air so I can see your hand? I'll acknowledge your hand. And I'll pray for you as we close.

Just raise your hand up saying, pray for me. God bless you right over here to my left. I love it. You put both hands up. Love that. Anybody else? Raise your hands up. You're saying pray-- God bless you, right up in the front toward the middle. Anyone else? Father, for those with raised hands or not who need to come to Jesus, I pray that you will enable them, having received Jesus, to make a stand for him in the world in which they live.

Right where you're seated, if you raised your hand, you might be listening to this by radio or podcast or a number of other means. But wherever you are, God sees you. He knows you. He loves you. Would you just say to him, Lord, I give you my life. I know I'm a sinner. Forgive me.

I believe Jesus came to this earth, that he shed his blood for my sin, that he rose from the grave. I believe that. And I turn from my sin. I repent of it. I leave it behind me and I turn to Jesus as my savior, my messiah, my master. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help me to live for him and his name, I pray. Amen. Amen.

The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Let's make sure the people in our lives don't miss out on the incredible love of Christ. Did this message inspire you to tell others about him today? Let us now. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for listening to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.