The Glory and The Terror of Our Lord’s Appearing

revelation.pngAn exposition of Revelation 19:1-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 26, 2008.


The old man sat whittling on the front porch of his broken down old family home when a stranger opened the rusty gate and made his way toward the porch. “Say old timer, what do reckon this place is worth?” The old man never looked up. “Well sir, that all depends.” “Depends on what?” came the response. “It depends on whether you’re from the county tax office or if you’re fixing to buy!” Perspective is everything. When I was a kid I remember those days when I spent the afternoon pacing the floor of my room. Dad had been away but he was due to return that afternoon. Mom was excited. Her day was spent in eager anticipation. She welcomed the return of her groom. My day was spent in dread of the return of my judge. You see there were things I was to have done before he returned. I hadn’t bothered to do any of them and he was coming back and I would have to give an account. The same event was producing two very different responses. One of delight and one of dread. Perspective is everything. The Bible is clear one day the heavens will open and the Lord Jesus will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God will sound. An unimaginable delight to some. A moment of shear terror for others. Perspective is everything. Our text this morning is found in the 19th chapter of the Revelation.

Text: Revelation 19:1-21
We’ve been given a preview of the bowls of wrath that final judgment to be poured out on the nations. John is in the process in chapters 17-19 of detailing that judgment. In 17 and 18 we are reminded that His judgment is just and that he will judge all rebellion, unbelief and idolatry. No one is “getting away” with anything. Those who’ve sold their souls in order to profit from this world’s system will taste His bitter wrath. The nations will gather against the Lamb but will experience utter defeat and total destruction. Now in chapter 19 the scene shifts from earth to heaven. Here we catch another glimpse of heavenly glory. In the process we are going to discover that…

Thesis: Revelation 19 reveals both the glory and the terror of our Lord’s second coming.
It is not a subject you hear with the frequency of which we used to hear it. In times past sermons on the second coming were commonplace. I remember when Paul Cooke was pastoring here how often we sang, “Jesus is Coming Again.”

Coming again, coming again!
May be morning, may be noon,
May be evening and May be soon!
Coming again, coming again!
O what a wonderful day it will be-
Jesus is coming again!
Or “What If It Were Today?”
Jesus is coming to earth again; what if it were today?
Coming in power and love to reign; what if it were today?
Coming to claim His chosen Bride, all the redeemed and purified,
Over this whole earth scattered wide; what if it were today?

Glory, glory! Joy to my heart ’twill bring.
Glory, glory! When we shall crown Him King.
Glory, glory! Haste to prepare the way;
Glory, glory! Jesus will come some day.

That is our hope as the people of God. That is what we long for. That is what we anticipate with great eagerness. But not everyone can sing, “joy to my heart ‘twill bring” for some it will be a terrible moment. The sight of the Warrior King with eyes of flames and a robe dipped in blood will signal their destruction. Perspective is everything.

I want to point out two things from our text.

  1. For the people of God, the return of the Lord Jesus is history’s climactic moment. (19:1-10)
    With the opening verses of chapter 19 the scene shifts from earth to heaven. We again hear the loud voice of a great multitude crying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgments are true and just…” The word Hallelujah is the transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning, “praise God” or “praise the Lord.” It is used only 4 times in the New Testament all of them in the opening verses of Revelation chapter 19. It is a phrase used often in the Old Testament particularly in the Psalms. What are they praising God for? There are at least 4 things I want to point out.
    A. They are praising Him because salvation is complete (19:1).
    B. They are also praising God because justice has been provided (19:2).
    C. Closely tied to that is the fact that rebellion has been brought to an end (19:3).
    D. Further He is to be praised because of His sovereign control of all things (19:4-6).
    The Lord God almighty reigns not just in a future millennial kingdom but right now! God is to be praised because salvation belongs to him, because justice has been provided, because rebellion has been brought to an end and because He reigns. All of that leads to the focus of this chapter beginning in verse 7 – “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” This was the message of the Lord of the Church to those struggling saints in first century Asia Minor and to us today. In the midst of our heartache and care we are to look to the sky in joyous anticipation to that day when the trumpet will sound. We are to eagerly anticipate the return of our blessed Savior. Oh what a day that will be! Are you ready for it? But it will not be a joyous occasion for everyone and that is the focus beginning with verse 11.
  2. For the ungodly the return of the Lord Jesus is a time of solemn reckoning. (19:11-21)
    “Then I saw heaven open.” We heard those same words back in chapter 4. Then it was to let John in now it is to let the Lord Jesus out. Do you get the picture? It is not a comforting one unless of course you are on His team! This is not a comforting picture rather it is a disturbing image and it is meant to be. This is not a “feel good” passage. This is a stand in awe passage. Jesus is coming again. The great hope of the people of the God is the return of our beloved. We eagerly anticipate His return as the climax of history. But for those who reject the message of the gospel it is a time of solemn reckoning. A day of judgment and destruction. Jesus is coming again – what if it were today? Would it be a day of joy or of mourning? A day of life or of death? Perspective is everything.
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