Call to Hear: Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. We can read the details of this event in all four Gospels. It’s one of few events shared by all the Gospel writers (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1–10; Luke 19:29–38; John 12:12–15).

Palm Sunday marks what is known as the Triumphal Entry of Jesus. Now, I don’t actually intend to spend a lot of time on the Gospel’s record of the Triumphal Entry this morning, but I am prepared to talk about the triumph of the Lamb as seen in Revelation 14:6-20.

Before we go to Revelation, let’s take a quick look at what the Gospel writers had to say regarding this hugely significant event about Jesus.

If we were to lay the four Gospel accounts side by side we would see very identical details with a few omissions here and there. However, the main point is still evident, Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who brings salvation.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem 5 days before He is crucified in our place. Crucified because of our sinfulness. The Apostle John tells us that this took place on the “next day” meaning that it happened the day after the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus for going around testifying that Jesus had given him his life back. Lazarus’ testimony would eventually lead to the conversion of many Jews as they placed their faith in Jesus (John 12:9-11).

Earlier in John’s account, after Jesus had fed the multitude of 5K+ with 2 fish and 5 loaves of  bread, they were so impressed by His abilities that they “were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king…” (John 6:15 ).

Well, when He comes riding in to town on the back of a donkey, the assumption is that He has finally come to overthrow the government and free Jews from the tyranny of Rome, but they were so wrong. The nation was looking for a leader who would use power, might, and brute force to put the nation of Israel on top once again. During this election year, these words are eerily too familiar.

They had the wrong idea about Jesus. And they had the wrong idea about what they needed to be freed from.

The apostle Matthew tells us that the shouts of

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!

“Blessed is He who comes in the

name of the Lord!”

Hosanna in the highest!’ (Matt. 21:9).

were a fulfillment of prophecy. Echoing in the halls of Israel’s history were the cries of salvation for the people of God.

Psalm 118:25–26 NKJV

Save now, I pray, O Lord;

O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

Daniel Akins says that

“the choice of the donkey reveals the King will achieve his victory through humility. The salvation he secures will come through meekness. He doesn’t come to destroy other nations but to “proclaim peace to the nations.”[i]

This is only partially true, because in Revelation 14:19-20 we learn that this same Jesus does indeed come in judgment to destroy the nations who have rejected Him coming in grace and humility.

Revelation 14:19–20 NKJV

So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into

the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

And what we learn in Revelation 19:15 is that Jesus is the one who treads the winepress crushing the rebellious nations.

Revelation 19:15 NKJV

Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

In our last study of Revelation 14:1-5 we answered the first of Alan F. Johnson’s two lingering questions inspired by the earlier chapters of 12 and 13. 1) What happens to those who refuse the mark of the beast and are killed? In regards to this first question, we discovered that faithfulness  ALWAYS has a  reward !

No matter what it might cost us, there is ALWAYS something beneficial to gain when we are faithful to the Lamb.

Again, looking at Rev. 20:4 we can see that the reward for those 144K who followed the Lamb wherever He went is a resurrected life after they were killed for their faithfulness. Although they were killed because they drew near to God and resisted the devil, yet they reigned with Him, standing on Mount Zion, never to die again!

Revelation 20:4 NKJV

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Today, we will answer Johnson’s second question. 2) What happens to the beasts and those who do receive the mark?

The Gospel

Revelation 14:6 NKJV

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, tribe, tongue, and people—

In this section, an angel is sent out to preach the everlasting Gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue and people on the face of the planet. Several of whom have found themselves here at BCC. Allow me to point out a few observations regarding the gospel mentioned here.

First, the Gospel is  eternal .

Some commentators (G.K. Beale[1], Leon Morris[2]) are under the impression that because the word gospel is not preceded by the definite article “the” then this suggests that John most be referring to a gospel other than the one which is “the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). They assert that this is not a gospel of salvation, but one of judgment. However, what we find in scripture is that there is only one gospel and it cuts both ways! Judgment on those who reject its call to repentance and surrender. Salvation to those who yield to its power!

Chuck Swindoll observes

“Although the means of communication may change throughout the centuries, the message itself never changes.”[ii]

This is why the Apostles Paul could say with great conviction,

1 Corinthians 15:1–8 NKJV

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

And furthermore, to the Galatians he said, “…if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).

“The gospel is called eternal  because it is  immutable  and  permanently valid .[iii]

Second, the gospel is also  universal .

To say that the gospel is universal does not imply a universal salvation of any sort. This reference simply means that it is for ALL people, from ALL nations, in ALL of the world.

“There is an essential difference between the Jewish and Christian dispensations. The Jewish dispensation was restricted to one nation and period; the Christian dispensation is universal, embracing all the different tribes of men, and extending to the end of time.”[iv]

The call of salvation, the call to repent of our rebellion, the call to surrender our will to the will of Jesus is a call that goes out to ALL people, American, Haitian, Chinese, Afghani, Iranian, Colombian, Cuban, Nigerian, El Salvadoran, Sierra Leonean, Malaysian, or Mexican, you name it! No matter where you are from the Good News of Jesus is calling out to you!

“the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Third, the gospel demands a  response .

Revelation 14:7 NKJV

saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

When the angel comes preaching the eternal and universal gospel, the hearers are told to “fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (Rev. 14:7; emphasis added). Alan Johnson points out that the angel’s announcement is one of

“hope, for even at this crucial moment in history God is seeking to reclaim the beast followers by issuing a message appealing to the people of the world ….”[v]

The message of the gospel presents to each of us a choice to live or die. There is no middle ground.

I recently saw on the news that two young men walked into a convenient store and attacked the clerk. One of the guys was wearing a hoodie that said “Jesus Saved My Life”. It’s obvious that the young man is confused about what his shirt means. Listen, you can’t live like the world now and expect to enjoy the pleasures of God’s kingdom when you leave this life. Either you will surrender your will to the will of God and be saved or you will resist it and suffer for all eternity. We must make a choice! And the choice we have to make in regard to Christ is no different than the choice the Israelites had to make on their way to the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 30:15–18 NKJV

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,

in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.

But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,

I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.

Listen closely to what Roger Olson says,

“God allows his grace to be resisted and rejected, and determines to save all who do not reject it but instead embrace it as their only hope for eternal life. Christ’s atonement is universal in scope; God sent Christ to die for the sins of every person. But the atonement’s saving efficacy extends only to those who embrace the cross by faith.”[vi]

The gospel always demands a response! So choose wisely.

Fourth, the gospel carries a  consequence .

Revelation 14:8–11 NKJV

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,

he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Again, “The one you follow is crucial. The one you worship is decisive.”[vii]

In these verses we find the answer to Johnson’s second question. “What happens to the beasts and those who do receive the mark?” If anyone worships the beast and his image. If anyone receives his mark they WILL suffer the wrath of God! Anyone means anyone! It doesn’t matter how much good you’ve done in the world. It doesn’t matter how much money you gave to charities. It doesn’t matter how many times you showed up on Sunday mornings for worship. If anyone places their hope in the beast they will suffer for it.

The sad reality of the condition of humanity is that not everyone will choose to follow the Lamb and therefore they will pay dearly with their very lives. And I can hear the cries of injustice now. “That is so unfair!” “How cruel!” “I thought the God of the Bible was a God of Love!”

God is good! But He is also severe! Don’t forget that part.

My friend, what has God not done for you? In what way has He not reached out to you to pull you out of the way of His wrath? Has He not been kind to you? How much more time do you need before you see that His ways are better than yours? Instead of accusing God of being unfair and unloving, you should be praising Him for being so patient with your stubbornness. You should thank Him for being longsuffering toward you because He doesn’t want you to die in your sin. This is why Jesus has come into the world, that the world, through Him might be saved, that we might have life because of Him. This is why Jesus has gone to the cross instead of you going to the cross, because God is Love and He does love you. You have no excuse!

Israel accused God of being unfair also and here’s how God responded.

Ezekiel 18:25-32 NLT

25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ Listen to me, O people of Israel. Am I the one not doing what’s right, or is it you?

26 When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds.

27 And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives.

28 They will live because they thought it over and decided to turn from their sins. Such people will not die.

29 And yet the people of Israel keep saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ O people of Israel, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I.

30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign Lord. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you!

31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel?

32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!

Those who align themselves with the dragon and the beasts will drink the undiluted wrath of God. It will be poured out in the fullness of its strength.

Romans 1:18 NKJV

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

The prophet Zephaniah warned us about the coming day of the Lord’s wrath.

Zephaniah 1:14–17 NKJV

The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out.

That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness,

A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers.

“I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse.”

‘Here is the bitter irony of [the lot of those who follow the beast and receive his markings]: though they damn themselves eternally by their refusal to face the truth, one day they will be forced to face it. Sooner or later the “glory” they refuse to “give” the Creator willingly will be torn from them by the spectacle of His wrath.’[viii]

 

Philippians 2:10–11 NKJV

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Finally, the gospel comes with a  guarantee .

Revelation 14:12–13 NKJV

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

During the Great Tribulation, it appears that there will be one last-ditch effort to get those who have rejected Christ to turn from their sinful ways and trust in Him and some of those who do turn to the Lord in the last days will suffer greatly for having aligned themselves with the Lamb instead of the beast.

In these two verses we find a guarantee for anyone who trusts in Jesus.

First, they are called  blessed .

Even though we may die because of their faith in Jesus it is not something to hang our heads in defeat about.

Psalm 116:15 NKJV

Precious in the sight of the Lord

Is the death of His saints.

Second, they find  eternal rest  in the Lord.

At the beginning of the NT we find Jesus making this promise to anyone who would trust in Him.

Matthew 11:28–29 NKJV

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

At the end of the NT we find Jesus fulfilling that promise.

Revelation 14:13  “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.””

Call to Respond

Folks, there is nothing more that I can say in regards to the guarantee of our salvation than what God’s word has stated. Therefore, I want to read salvation promises straight from the word of God. For those of you who are Christians, I hope these words will encourage you in your faith and remind you of your eternal security in the Lord. For those of you who are not Christians, I hope that you will hear the promise of a secure future for you as you do place your hope in Jesus. “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” ( 2 Corinthians 6:2).

Joel 2:32 NKJV

And it shall come to pass

That whoever calls on the name of the Lord

Shall be saved.

For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,

As the Lord has said,

Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

John 6:37 NKJV

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

John 1:12 NKJV

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

John 3:16–17 NKJV

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 

1 John 5:11–12 NKJV

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Romans 10:8–13 NKJV

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

[i] Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in John, p246

[ii] (Swindoll, Revelation, p208).

[iii] (G.K. Beale, Revelation, p300).

[iv] (Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical Illustrator: Revelation (London: James Nisbet & Co., n.d.), 480.).

[v] (The Expositor’s Commentary, Revelation, p541).

[vi] Roger Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, p63).

[vii] Daniel Akins, Revelation, p239

[viii] Martin Kiddle, The Revelation of St. John (Hodder, 1940; Moffatt New Testament Commentary

The Triumph of the Lamb (Rev. 14:6-13)