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Summary: Both of our texts describe persecuted believers.Is persecution something that we should avoid or embrace? In a minute I will attempt to answer that question, but before I do let’s see what we can learn about persecution.

Revelation 7:1-17; 14:1-5

Purpose: To highlight God’s grace toward His faithful followers.

Aim: I want the listener to rejoice in the advantages of persecution.

INTRODUCTION: Last time, we finished looking at the first six seals (or chapters) from the sacred book that only the Lamb of God could open. The seventh seal will begin a flurry of judgments each announced by a trumpet.

But, before the unexplainable horror of the trumpet judgments begin, God pauses to demonstrate His grace one more time. Habakkuk 3:2 Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. (NAU)

This world has rejected its Creator. God has every right to punish evil, and He will exercise that right, but He would rather see His creatures repent. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (NAU)

In the midst of all of the judgments during the last days, there will be some who will turn to the Lord, but who are they? Who can withstand God’s judgments? Chapters seven and fourteen answer the question we find at the end of chapter six: Revelation 6:17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (NAU)

REVIEW:

1:1-20 I. John’s Vision of the Past "the things which you have seen"

2:1-5:14II. Christ’s Vision of the Present "the things which are"

Ch.6-22 III. John’s Vision of the Future "things which will take places"

6-7; 12-14 A. Satan’s war against God’s creation

1. The first seal 6:1-2; 12:1-2 4. The fourth seal 6:7-8; 12:7-9

2. The second seal6:3-4; 12:3-4a 5. The fifth seal 6:9-11; 12:10-17

3. The third seal6:5-6; 12:4b-6 6. The sixth seal 6:12-17; 13:1-10

LESSON:

➽7. Grace for God’s persecuted people

Both of our texts today describe persecuted believers. Is persecution something that we should avoid or embrace? In a minute I will attempt to answer that question, but before I do let’s see what we can learn about persecution.

In chapter seven we have:

➽7:1-17 a. Heaven’s view of God’s grace

➽Vs.1-8 (1) Believers on earth are protected "sealed the bond-servants of our God"

Vs.1 WIND is often a symbol for judgment in the Bible. For example: Exodus 15:10 "You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters. (NAU)

Vs. 2 "As blood was put upon the door of the houses of Israel in Egypt so that the angel of death would pass over these houses and strike only those which were not marked, so the seal of God is put upon the forehead of His own so that the angels of judgment, passing through the world, will know those who are God’s." [1]

Vs.3 The earth, trees, and sea will be harmed in God’s upcoming judgments.

Vs.4-8 There is no question that these are Jews who are sealed and that the number should be taken literally. John goes to great length to emphasize that this number is literal.

➽What does the SEAL stand for?

➽#1 Ownership

Jesus owns His followers. 1 Peter 1:18-19 18 ...you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (NAU)

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness." (NAU)

➽#2 Security

➽Many different people may own the same home at different times. When God seals His own it is declaring that no more transactions are coming. Once God owns us He will not transfer that ownership to anyone or anything else.

➽#3 A promise

The SEAL is also a sign that reminds us that we are secure. Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, (NAU) The Holy Spirit’s work in our everyday lives is a constant reminder that we belong to God.

What a joy to KNOW that not one of God’s followers will be swept away in the midst of God’s wrath against sin.

➽Vs.9-17 (2) Believers in heaven are rewarded

Vs.9 "During the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth), the children of Israel were to "take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days" (Lev. 23:40). The boughs were used in the construction of makeshift dwellings (booths, tabernacles ) reminiscent of the time of wilderness wandering (Lev. 23:43). In the Millennial Kingdom, all the nations will go up to Jerusalem each year to keep this feast (Zec. 14:16) which will commemorate not only the wilderness wandering under Moses, but the wilderness of Israel’s dispersion among the nations after having rejected her Messiah."[2]

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