The Final Meal

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Will we eat or be eaten?

Revelation(52) (Part of the Jesus Unveiled(51) series)
by Stuart Johns(84) on February 10, 2019 (Sunday Morning(110))

Death(2), Forgiveness(4), Judgement(7)

Jesus Unveiled

The Final Meal

(Revelation 19:17-21)

 

INTRODUCTION

“I came across a book written by a cardiologist at the University of Tennessee that corroborates an important aspect of the biblical message. In the course of their emergency room work, Dr. Maurice Rawlings and his colleagues interviewed more than 300 people who claimed near-death experiences. What made Rawlings' study distinct is that the interviews were not conducted months or years later but immediately after the experiences had allegedly occurred – while the patients were still too shaken up in the immediacy of the moment to gloss over or to re-imagine what they had experienced.

 

Nearly 50 percent of them reported encountering images of fire, of tormented and tormenting creatures, and other sights hailing from a place very different from heaven. In follow-up interviews much later many of these same people had changed their stories, apparently unwilling to admit to their families, maybe even to themselves, that they had caught a glimpse of something like what the Bible calls hell.

 

Dr. Rawlings concludes, ‘Just listening to these patients has changed my life. There is a life after death, and if I don't know where I'm going, it is not safe to die.’”

 

Dan Meyer, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel,” Preaching Today No. 238

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2003/july/14483.html].

 

Hell is a real place. ​​ There is life after death. ​​ We know from Scripture that those who are faithful and true to God and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be with them in paradise (heaven). ​​ Those who reject God and refuse to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be separated from them for all eternity.

 

In Revelation 19, John’s vision is of two great meals that God will provide – one for those who are faithful and true to Him and one for those who are unfaithful and reject Him.

 

How many of us are familiar with the phrase, “Call me anything you like, but don’t call me late for dinner?”

BODY

  • ME

    • Dinner bell at Judy’s parent’s farm

        • The small farm where Judy grew up in Ohio has a bell in the backyard

        • I don’t know how often it was used to call her and her brother for dinner

        • I know when we lived in her parent’s house that we used it as a form of communication to let each other or our children know that they needed to come back to the house

        • It was always a little scary to ring the bell, because wasps enjoyed making a nest up inside the bell – we were never sure whether or not we’d be greeted by some wasps when we rang it

    • Calling our children for dinner

        • More recently we call our children for dinner by calling their name when they’re in the house

        • I’ll whistle off the back porch if they are in the garage or outside somewhere

        • Other times we pick up our cell phone and text or call them

 

  • WE

    • Being called for dinner

        • How many of us have ever been called to dinner by a dinner bell (either a triangle or an actual bell)?

        • Perhaps it wasn’t a dinner bell, but a whistle from our father or mother

        • Maybe it was just Mom hollering out the back door

        • Do you remember what happened when we didn’t come right away?

          • I’ve heard stories of children that didn’t come right in for dinner when they were called

          • The result was that when they eventually came in for dinner, their dinner was water and a piece of bread or a cracker

          • It didn’t take too many times of eating bread or a cracker and drinking water to learn that you’d better come running when called for dinner

    • How have we called our children to dinner?

        • Perhaps we’ve whistled

        • Maybe we’ve hollered out the back door, up the stairs, or down the hallway

        • Some of us have probably used technology to our advantage and either called or texted our children

 

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Marc shared with us about the wedding supper of the Lamb, which God will provide for those who have been faithful and true to Him. ​​ We’re going to be looking at another great meal today that God will provide, but the circumstances behind this meal are completely different. ​​ This meal will involve those who have been unfaithful to God and have rejected Him. ​​ Revelation 19 reveals to us that every person will be included in one of two meals that God will provide. ​​ We have to ask ourselves this question . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Will we eat or be eaten?

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Revelation 19:17-21)

    • A call to dinner (vv. 17-18)

        • The messenger

          • It is another angel from heaven

          • This angel is standing in the sun

            • The position is important, because it would have been the highest point in the sky [Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary, Revelation, 356]

            • As we’ll see in a moment this position would be important as the angel calls the meal attendees to gather

            • The splendor of the angel would be magnified in the fact that it is superimposed in front of the sun

            • It would have given the angel an incredible glow or radiance that would be appropriate for God’s messenger

            • This would have given the angel the appearance of “shining” with God’s glory

              • God’s glory radiating from Jesus and another angel has already been seen in Revelation

              • Christ’s “face was like the sun” (Rev. 1:16)

              • Mighty angel whose “face is like the sun” (Rv. 10:1)

          • The angel is crying in a loud voice

            • This loud voice will be clear and understandable to the those who are being addressed

            • They will not question whether or not they heard this angel correctly

            • They are being invited to the “great supper of God”

            • It’s God’s supper in the sense that God is the One who is providing it

          • John doesn’t keep us in suspense, but immediately identifies who the meal attendees will be

        • The meal attendees

          • It is the birds flying in midair

          • The position of the angel who is calling them to dinner makes sense – it is standing in the sun (the highest point in the sky)

          • We don’t normally think of songbirds eating dead, rotting flesh

          • There are certain birds that come to mind when we think of dead, rotting animals being eaten

            • Vultures, Buzzards, and crows

            • Kites, Caracaras, Eagles, and Marabou Storks

          • The vultures and buzzards are the ones we see circling high above their meal and eventually descending to eat

          • The sense here is that the angel is at the highest point in the sky and is crying out to these scavenger birds that are circling

          • The meal is being prepared for them, but what will the meal consist of?

        • The meal

          • It will be the flesh of a great army that is gathering, which includes all sinners

          • No sinner will be exempt

            • John begins by identifying those who have a military background (kings, generals, mighty men, and the cavalry – horses and their riders)

            • The flesh of all people makes it clear that no one is exempt

            • The next two pairs of terms make it clear that it includes every socio-economic group (free and slave, small and great)

          • Those who reject Jesus Christ will be eaten by scavenger birds as part of their punishment and destruction

        • What John sees next is what I’m calling meal preparation

    • Meal preparation (v. 19-21a)

        • Preparing a meal

          • I’m not like Judy when it comes to meal preparation

            • She is able to move smoothly through the kitchen and add the right amount of spices and seasoning without thinking about it or having to measure it out

            • She can have multiply things going at the same time, without worrying about whether or not something will be overcooked

          • I prefer to have everything staged and all the ingredients laid out prior to starting

            • I measure out all the ingredients exactly, because I don’t trust myself to add a sprinkle of something here and a dash of something there

            • I prefer to work on one dish at a time so I don’t ruin it, which means that not everything is ready at the same time

            • You’ve probably guessed that I don’t cook very often

            • I am a seasoned and skilled eater, though

        • What John sees next in vv. 19-21a is the preparation of the great supper of God for the scavenger birds

          • He sees the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together

            • The ingredients are being laid out in preparation for the meal

            • The kings, generals, mighty men, horses and their riders and the rest of those who have rejected Jesus Christ are gathering together – being prepared

            • This reminds us of the sixth bowl that was poured out in Revelation 16:12-16, The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. ​​ Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. ​​ They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. . . . Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

          • Two ingredients will be thrown on the grill, so to say

            • The reality of what will happen to these two ingredients will be far worse than simply being grilled

            • The beast and the false prophet will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur

              • We see again a description of the false prophet and what he did – performed many miraculous signs on behalf of the beast

                • These signs helped to deceive those who accepted the mark of the beast and worshiped his image

                • The signs that the false prophet performed allowed these unbelievers to justify what they had already chosen to do – reject Jesus Christ and continue to live their lives in rebellion against God

                • We can be prone to the same things today

                  • We know what God’s Word says, but we continue to search for an “authority” that will allow us to justify what we want to do, say, or think

                  • But we see that this kind of justification only leads us to destruction

                  • We are deluded and deceived, because we have already made up our minds about what we want to do, think, and say

                  • We can very easily take the “mark” of the world/culture and worship images that are not God

                  • Our standard has to be God’s Word, the Bible, taught in a way that’s not taken out of context or read and interpreted with preconceived ideas and thoughts

                  • We have to ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom to know exactly what God is telling us in His Word

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom to understand God’s Word as He meant it to be, so I will not be deluded and deceived by the false prophets of this world or culture.

                • The false prophet will be held accountable for leading God’s creation away from Him

              • PRINCIPLE – God will punish those who continue to rebel against Him, and especially those who lead others away from Him.

                • The beast, who is a “Christ” wannabe, and the false prophet, will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur

                • It is important to note that they are thrown into the lake, alive

                • The punishment that the beast and the false prophet will experience is eternal torment

                • We will see that three other groups will be thrown into the “lake of fire”

                  • The devil (Rev. 20:10)

                  • Death and Hades (Rev. 20:14a)

                  • The unbelievers (Rev. 20:14b)

                  • With these three groups, nothing is mentioned about the fact that they are thrown into the lake of fire, alive

                  • “The connotation is conscious punishment in the lake of fire, and it may well be that John expected the reader to remember that with respect to the other three groups.” [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 690]

                • Any individual who dies in a state of rebellion against God or accepts the mark of the beast and worships him when Christ returns will experience eternal torment in hell

                • It breaks my heart to hear people say that they’re fine with going to hell (my guess is that they either don’t know what they’re wishing for or are in denial concerning what it means)

                  • Most of us have experienced what it’s like to be really thirsty – desiring a cool drink of water, but not being able to have it right then

                  • Perhaps we just have to wait until we get home, or until the next rest stop comes on the turnpike, or the next exit on the interstate

                  • It’s a relief to feel the cool, moist liquid slide down our throats and satisfy our thirst

                  • Now image that we would never be able to satisfy that longing to quench our thirst

                  • Jesus taught about the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus, in Luke 16:19-31

                  • Let’s pick up the story in Luke 16:22-31

                  • We see in this story that the rich man is in hell and is continually in torment

                  • There is a chasm that cannot be crossed

                  • Notice, too, that Abraham tells the rich man that his five brothers have Moses and the Prophets (their scriptures, individuals in their day and age who are telling them about God)

                  • If these five brothers will not listen to God’s Word through His chosen messengers, they will not listen to someone who returns from the dead (something supernatural)

                  • We have God’s Holy Word today, the Bible

                  • There are pastors, evangelists, and teachers (all Christians) who are telling us about God and Jesus Christ

                  • We have to listen to them, instead of seeking a supernatural experience from God

                  • If we die or Christ returns and we are still in rebellion against God and reject Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, then we will be eternally separated from God and experience eternal torment

                  • I’m not sharing this today to try to scare anyone into heaven, I’m sharing this because this is truth and reality

                  • God will punish sinners when Jesus comes the second time and His punishment will be complete and permanent

                  • But every person has the chance to change their eternity

                  • You can change your eternal address today!

                  • Sin (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23)

                  • God’s love (Rom. 5:8)

                  • God’s redemption plan (1 Peter 3:18a, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God)

                  • John 5:24, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Cross over from death to life and receive God’s eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.

                • God’s punishment for rebellion and rejection of Christ will be eternal torment

            • Final preparations are then made for the great supper of God

          • The kings, generals, mighty men, horses and their riders, and the rest of the unbelievers are killed

            • As I mentioned last week, Jesus’ army is present at the battle, but only as spectators

            • We see that the final meal preparations are done quickly

            • The rest of the beast’s army are killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse

            • This reminds us again that God’s words, through Jesus Christ are powerful

              • His words were powerful enough to speak the world into existence

              • His words are powerful enough to transform anyone’s life

              • His words will be powerful enough to defeat Satan’s army

        • The table is set, the meal is ready, and the guests have arrived

    • The meal (v. 21b)

        • The scavenger birds don’t waste time

        • They feed on the flesh of all unbelievers who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords

 

  • YOU

    • Will you eat or be eaten?

    • Wedding feast of the Lamb

        • This is reserved for those who have remained faithful and true to God and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

        • You can put your reservation in today by believing in the Word of God and Jesus Christ

        • You can cross over from death to life and not have to experience eternal torment in hell

    • Great supper of God

        • Don’t wait because we’re never guaranteed tomorrow

        • God may require your life today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or sometime in the future

        • If you die in a state of rebellion against God and you haven’t believed in Jesus Christ, then you will be eaten (food for the birds) as part of the great supper of God

 

  • WE

    • As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all commissioned to share the Good news of the Gospel with those in our sphere of influence

    • We all have the responsibility to invite our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to the wedding feast of the Lamb

    • Don’t hesitate to share the Gospel with them today or this week

    • It’s the difference between enjoying an incredible banquet meal with Jesus or being the meal for birds

 

CONCLUSION

“In their book Crashmaker: A Federal Affaire, Victor Sperandeo and Alvaro Almeida paint a graphic picture of hell. The villain, Alan Stillwell, has a nightmare in which he meets the philosopher Voltaire in perdition:

 

Voltaire's countenance appeared white, not because it was dead, bloodless flesh, but because it was a mask of the most intense, living fire. So, too, flames enveloped his whole body—if, indeed, what Stillwell saw beneath the fire could properly be called a body at all. Twisted and deformed, it mocked the shape of a man. As black as charcoal, shimmering in reds and oranges with the incandescence of combustion, the thing seethed with ulcers of molten flesh that suppurated to a white heat, spit out jets of fiery matter, then collapsed upon themselves, only to burst forth in some other spot.

 

At the margins of these migrant craters emerged orange ribbons—no, Stillwell saw to his horror, worms. Standing on end, the creatures writhed in the flames, then melted into a translucent yellow liquid that poured back over the body and ignited, the bluish tongues of fire from this foul fuel spawning more of the awful parasites that then bored their way back into the body. As Stillwell watched, his mouth agape, chunks of Voltaire's black flesh crumbled in showers of sparks, revealing bones almost transparent in their white heat. The fire all around consumed the flesh before it fell far. But when Stillwell looked again, the body was once more intact—always destroying itself, yet always whole. A fool's cap of the most intense flames crowned the [philosopher's] head, but not because his hair itself was alight. Rather, in the manner of a wick drawing on an inexhaustible reservoir, the follicles sucked from fissures in Voltaire's skull liquefied brain that burned with a fury born of the unhappy combination of the intellectual brilliance of his mind and the perverse purposes to which he had put it.

 

Somehow, Stillwell could bear to look on all that. What he saw in Voltaire's eyes, though, shook [him] to his core: all the depravity of man the philosopher had unleashed during and after his lifetime. And, underlying that monstrous crime against humanity, its true cause: Voltaire's overweening pride . . . .[Voltaire confesses,] ‘My own reason enchained me, too, in disbelief. I ridiculed the Absolute. I imagined myself capable of giving new laws to the world, even of dethroning God. But what help were my pithy skepticism, my witty unbelief, all the blasphemies of my facile pen when at length I found my name inscribed in the Book of Eternal Death? Oh, then to erase, to amend! Alas, too late. I pulled down the Prophet, Priest, and King from the Cross without knowing that, in so doing, I would nail myself there in His stead, to become defenseless before the supreme tribunal, with no Savior to forgive my transgressions, no Church to reconcile me with my Creator.’

 

Stillwell shuttered, as if a dagger had been driven into the soul he knew he did not have. ​​ ‘Why do you want to save me?’ he probed.’ ‘Save you?!’ the spirit shrieked, shaking with fury. ‘I long for your damnation! To work for the salvation of souls my own sins have corrupted is part of my punishment. How it tortures me to fear that you might be saved, whilst I must remain forever [here].’”

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/january/13472.html]

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