The world looks on and wonders, surprised at the residence and presidence of the demonic beast's take over of Babylon. The most surprising aspect of Revelation 17 is that the world is surprised! Having fashioned a world system of atheism, humanism, hedonism and materialism nothing could be more predictable than that system would become a perfect habitation for the demonic. Anyone surely could predict this, except the world itself! Satan had mankind fashion his anti-church, his anti-kingdom on his behalf. Here was a place of safety, security, and salvation (17:4). Babylon offered everything a soul could wish for! Here was a false saviour and a false salvation! Here was Satan's master piece, the work of millenia! The angel (17:1) pauses from his busy schedule to emphasise to John that whilst the wheels of Divine justice may well turn slow, they turn certain and sure. There is nothing more certain than Divine justice played out in time and in eternity. Dr J Stewart Gillespie, www.graceinchrist.org.
Revelation chapter 15 vs 1 to 4 traces the destiny of those who trusted the God of their strength, never flinching and refusing to let go until He became their salvation. As they stand upon the the crystal sea now mixed with the fires of affliction, they stand perpetual testimony to the God who is able to turn the victim into a victor. Here is the great secret of Christian trial and affliction that we have a God who is able to empower us to emerge butterfly like from the catastrophe of persecution and turmoil. The enemy in his hatred and cruelty may well have chased them to the brink of extinction at the edge of the sea but this was merely God's preamble to opening up the path before them for an eternal entrance to the habitation of God. They were like the Covenanter Martyrs of 1685, Corson and Hair; "Unknown till persecution dragged them into fame and chased them up to heaven"
What a God! What a Saviour! What a Lamb!
A message preached as part of our systematic study series on the book of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Bible teaching from Revelation chapter 14 verses 14 to 20; the two judgments of Revelation chapter 14 of the world and of Israel. Man may be impatient for judgement, God is not! He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. God does not merely react to sin! God is sovereign over man and works purpose through even a world in rebellion. We ought not to underestemate the sovereign power of a God who is able to bring good from the slavery and betrayal of Joseph, the murder by Moses and the rebellion of Jonah. After cries which echoe through the Psalms of David, the service of the disciples, the sanctuary of Daniel and the sousl of the saints of Revelation chapter 6; cries of "how long?" finally the answer is "now". Here is God's perfect judgment in God's time. From a systematic exposition of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Christian hymns, Old Testament Psalms (Psalm 2) and Biblical prophecies all look forward to Christ reigning in Zion; the Holy and royal mountain of Jerusalem. Well here He is; Christ in Zion, in Revelation chapter 14. John paints the picture, gives us a snapshot of Christ on mount Zion! It’s here He has finally arrived, but it's not what I would expect of:
The Son of God
The King of Kings
The Lord of Lords
Judge of all things
It’s the picture I might anticipate of one who is:
“Yet have I set my King upon my Holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6)
I wasn’t expecting to see a lamb there! Maybe a lion!
Yet the path from earth to heaven and glory, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has taken as a lamb.
That’s interesting that we should find the lamb on Mt Zion
We find the lamb in all sorts of places:
On the altar (Gen 22) – sacrifice
In the fire and flame (Ex 12) – suffering
In the mouth of the lion (1 Sam 17) – Satanic attack
Led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53)
Bearing away the sin of the world - As the Substitute
Finally we find the lamb here; on the throne (Revelation 4); in heaven (Revelation 14)
This path of the lamb by way of:
Is the path followed by those whom we find here in heaven. The route to the destination is the same.
They have followed the lamb all the way to Zion.
Some claim that we ought not to be ‘prisoners to our past, it’s a lesson, not a life sentence.’ There is some truth in that, but not much!
The biblical view of our past is far higher than being ‘free from the prison’ of the past and the past is certainly no lesson, it is the real thing!
If the past is but a lesson for today and today is but a lesson for the future. Where is it that we put into practice these so called lessons? When do we actually graduate from school into the real world! This of course is the real world!
No doubt lessons should be learned but regarding our life as merely a lesson is way short of the profound depths which God attaches to our life here and now.
Our past is not a prison from which we ought to regard ourselves as liberated from, our past is
what in part moulds and shapes us and produces character in us (Romans 5:1ff).
Theatre in which is worked out our service for God, the race is run, and as such reward can follow on.
The arena of sin and error; a place where ripples extend out into eternity, to the judgment seat and to others
Our past is way more serious than a prison from which we might seek freedom.
Our past does indeed teach lessons, but it has eternal consequences for us and consequences for others, which we cannot ignore nor erase. Consequences not only of:
Once we face up to the reality of this, once we grasp the truth of this, this will lead us to:
As well as
There is by far the greater path of:
We are far more than prisoners of our past
We are products of our past
A past that is not merely a lesson in life but a past that is life itself, real life with ripples running off into eternity.
The 144,000 arrive in heaven, sounding like the lamb (14:2) with a “voice of many waters” and with a “new song” that no man could learn.
Anyone could read the lyrics but they could not learn the song
Anyone could learn words but they could not learn the song!
Anyone could follow a tune but they could not learn this song!
Many could play the music but they could not learn the song.
This was a song played on the heart, not only upon the harp (v2)
Like Christ who ‘learned obedience by the things which He suffered’
Learning is a change brought about from experience
At times in life we complain, we are resentful, become bitter, get discouraged.
At times we desire an:
To take it a little easier
Put our feet up
A bit less hassle
This path is the path to mount Sinai
This is the path which brought the Son of God to Glory
This song was and is the product of their lives.
This is the song that makes us sound like Christ!
Bass notes of suffering
The treble clef of lifes melody
The sharps of excitement
The flats of disappointment
The rests of recuperation
The repeats of routine
The majors of life’s dominant themes
The minors of less significant
We may be an epistle written and read as Paul reminds us but our life also produces a song that is sung and nothing need be wasted.
From a systematic bible teaching series from the letter of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, preached at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock. Free to download messages and free to view online.
Great songs are born of deep experience. Some of the richest treasures of human expression arise from our deepest emotions of love, both fulfilled and frustrated. From lessons learned in deep anguish arise the expressions of heart uniquely tuned in the life and experience of every believer. To heaven these 144 000 bring a song so unique that only their life and their experience is able to give expression to it.
Dr J Stewart Gillespie at Faskally House Families Week 2022 - Tell me There's a Heaven.
Trace back the fuse wire to the detonator that triggered the pouring out of the 7 vials of judgment, the fall of Babylon the Great, the battle of Armageddon, the sounding of the 7 trumpets, and the opening of the 7 seals, will lead you to this book in the hand of God in Revelation chapter 5. Whatever this book is, it contains the secret of all subsequent judgments and catastrophes in the book of Revelation which are to befall the world. Whatever it is, this book is important. Despite the fact that loosening the seals to open the book leads to global environmental, economic and spiritual melt down following in the wake of war, famine, disease and demonic attack, this is a risk worth taking.
The 4th message in a series of studies in the book of Revelation given at Faskally Family week 2022 on the theme of "Tell me There's a Heaven" by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
The lion of the tribe of Judah reigns sovereign and supreme from the throne of the Universe in Revelation chapter 5. His sovereignty has suffered and sacrificed through time and humanity. To the throne of heaven He brings Divine right and appointment fused with moral right and authority. He is the King who wore the crown of thorns ever before He bore the royal diadem. His reign in Righteousness is above fault and criticism, He was both given this right to reign, and He died for this right to reign. As the Lamb He concludes His retribution with redemption, His purpose in time for the universe collectively and for us individually will not be revealed in the raw power of destruction but rather every pain, each sorrow, every disappointment, all trials and affliction ultimately work together for good and Glory.
The 3rd message given at Faskally House Family Week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme of
"Tell me there's a Heaven" - studies in the book of Revelation.
The anticipated ecstasy of hymns, the crystal sea pictures the absolute, transparent holiness of God. Solomon was commissioned to reflect the pattern in the sea of his temple, provided for the cleansing of the priesthood. In this solid sea of glass, washing from sin and defilement is eternally out of the question. Nothing that defiles can enter into the dwelling place of God. Access to God's Heaven has as it's requirement holiness. It is a condition of entry and not a consequence. Absolute purity, the kind of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can provide, purchased by His blood and freely given to those willing to receive salvation by faith alone.
This crystal sea marks the boundary conditions of heaven. It is both heaven's floor and earth's ceiling. It is the extent of man's experience of the Divine when sought without Christ; a barrier of solid holiness. Revelation chapter 5 paints a picture of the character and nature of the God of heaven:
Lion like in His Sovereignty
Calf like in His salvation
Man like in His incarnation
Eagle like in the transcendence of His Spirit
Get a glimpse of Glory Get a glimpse of God
From a series of messages presented at Faskally House Family Week 2022 by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme:
It has taken 4000 years for the Spirit of God to introduce us to heaven. Heaven is a place of many surprises, but perhaps the greatest of all surprises is that there are so few surprises! Heaven has a door; a door we know of well from John's gospel. Heaven opens with a voice familiar; that of Jesus Christ. Heaven is the throne room of God. Upon the throne of heaven we see one like a Jasper and Sardine stone; one who is the Son of God's right hand and the Son of His mother's sorrow. The throne is surrounded by a rainbow of covenant keeping glory; echoing the one who is life and light.
Here is heaven.
Here is the God of heaven.
This is the God we know.
This is Jesus Christ.
The first of 6 studies in the book of Revelation presented at Faskally House, families week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
From the lands of the Mediterranean Sea there will arise a Beast, the AntiChrist, the Man of Sin. Echoing features of empires past he will move quickly like the armies and empire of Alexander the Great, as pictured in the Leopard. His geographical domain is likely to be that of the Medo-Persian Empire of centuries ago, standing bear like, with his feet gripping the lands of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. This is Satan's one world dictator, a man with universal political (Revelation 13:2) and spiritual authority (Revelation 13:8) over the worlds. It is interesting to speculate how such a universal dictatorship could arise. The world of Revelation chapter 13, whilst echoed by events in the past century is very unlike the political landscape we see today. This is a world decimated by judgment, wars, disease and famine. between the judgments of the fourth scroll and 6th trumpet, one half of the world's population has been destroyed. Food production has been decimated by poisoned seas and rivers, nuclear explosions have polluted and destroyed productive agriculture and lands. This is a post-apocalyptic landscape, the leadership of which has been grasped, probably out of necessity to restore law and order and distribute evenly what resources there are. Here is Satan's finest hour, achieving his goal from the garden of Eden. This is his takeover of God's creation. Satan's Kingdom has come! Whilst this may be Satan's greatest moment, it is undoubtedly earth's most awful moment. A message preached as part of our series of systematic bible studies in the book of Revelation. Dr J Stewart Gillespie graceinchrist.org
A surgical incision into the closing section of Revelation chapter 11, reveals an unexpected heart beating at it's centre! After 7 seals and 6 trumpets and a third woe pending, this section gravitates around a nucleus of worship (Rev 11:17). This may seem to some a surprising conclusion to death, disease, catastrophe, global conflict and demonic attack upon the earth! Yet we ought not to be surprised at all. It was:
After Israel apostatised in worshipping the golden calf and the tables of the law were smashed that Moses worshipped
After Job had seen the death of his family, the destruction of his home and the decimation of his wealth that Job worshipped
Surrounded by the apocalyptic destruction of Jerusalem, the wall and the temple that Ezra worshipped
On the storm tossed boat with their life in jeopardy that the disciples worshipped
Possessed by a legion of soul wrenching demons that the Gaderene worshipped
Whilst he was dying and leaning on his staff that Jacob worshipped
Revelation chapter 11 verses 14 to 19 give us five good reasons to worship and everything going well with the world and our lives is not one of them! We can rejoice that God is in control of:
The woes that befall the world - ordered and announced by Him
The world and it's kingdoms
The wicked and their judgment
The reward of the godly
The worship of the one true and living God
His word is settled forever in heaven. Despite what we may perceive as the chaos and catastrophe of the past we cannot on that basis predict the plans of God!
Grace upon grace, God has poured out on a fallen world. Generation after generation, God adds to His grace. It is almost as if century upon century God is declaring that He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). By the time we reach Revelation chapter 11 many a mercy has moved towards man. God's dispensations or administrations have rolled through creation, conscience, government, law, grace and tribulation. In each movement of the Divine hand God calls men to repentance and to Himself.
Here in Revelation chapter 11, God brings all of His movements of mercy to a pinnacle. The miracles of Moses, the signs and wonders of Elijah (11:5-6), the plagues of blood and drought, the power of the Spirit of God (11:4) and all under the shadow of the cross, rain down upon man. Some respond, a remnant turn to give Glory to the God of heaven (11:13).
Tragically many reject the message of God. With even greater catastrophe they confuse the message as the product of the messenger and not as the revelation of God. Gloating and glorying over their corpses, the product of the satanic attack of the Beast, the rejoicing of the world is premature. God is still on His throne and 3 and a half days into their death, resurrection power raises them again from the dead.
A study in Revelation chapter 11 from our systematic series of expository bible studies in the book of Revelation.
It's not every day that a man out does God! Death defying is a frequently used phrase but on only two historical occasions have men actually achieved that feat! The Old Testament contains two strange anomalies. Both Enoch (Genesis 5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2) pass from earth to heaven, from time to the eternal without passing through death. This is not only an intriguing record but it also challenges the truth of Hebrews 9 :27 "it is appointed unto man once to die". Did they manage to escape and defy death? Mor importantly did they find a way around conforming to the pattern of Hebrews 9? Fast forward a few thousand years to Revelation chapter 11. Two witnesses appear in Jerusalem at the mid point of the tribulation period. There is something distinctly familiar about this pair! The impact of their ministry extends for a period of 3 and a half years, like that of Elijah (James 5:17), they call down fire from heaven; like that of Elijah (2 Kings 1), they stop the rain, again like Elijah and stand alone against the world, again reminiscent of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Could we have here these two old testament characters? Does this solve the bible long mystery? Have these men, not so much escaped death, but been reserved and set apart for a future service and ministry in the last days? John observes, John records but perhaps like us, John participates in what God is doing (Revelation 11:1) in this chapter. He measures what belongs to God. It isn't big in the eyes of men. An inner court of 30 by 30 feet, yet it is God's patch, God's place and God's people. God values what belongs to Him, so does John and so do the two witnesses. The interest they have in time, as an interest that continues into forever (11:12). In chapter 11 it is only those with an interest in God's people and place on earth who continue to enjoy that place in heaven! Revelation chapter 11 looks off into future days of tribulation, yet the character, the interests of these witnesses is not foreign or new to us. They have an interest in God's work and worship here and serve God in His power and by His Spirit. Yours by Grace in Christ Dr J Stewart Gillespie From a series of systematic bible expositions in the book of Revelation, free to download audio mp3 and free to watch online at graceinchrist.org
For the martyred multitude of Revelation chapter 7, heaven was worth it and heaven came as no surprise. With every strain of the sinews, every stretch of their muscle fibres and with each tensing of the tendons, this great multitude of God's people felt they were stepping upwards, higher and higher to the heavens. Reaching the summit came as no surprise. The clouds seemed closer with every step, the atmosphere of earth thinning and the sun a little brighter. Their journey had been one of progressing a little higher day by day. Along that upward path they had known the:
The Taste of the Place
The Touch of a Person
Heaven was reached by a palm tree paved path from the:
Palms of the oasis of Elim bringing refreshment from the wells of God's provision for His people on their earthly journey
Palms of reflection as His people dwelt annually under the booths of palm leaves, reminding them of their pilgrim character on earth
Palms of revelation under the palm tree of Deborah
Palms of relationship adorning the temple
Each step of the pilgrim journey home had a taste of the place, a fragrance of heaven.
That journey to the dwelling place of the Lamb was likewise assured by the presence and provision of the Shepherd along the path. The one who had lead them by the still waters and who had made them lie down in green pastures was the same one who had lead them to the source of that supply. Psalm 23 with its closing promise of dwelling in the House of the Lord forever, is the doorway into the eternal vista of Revelation chapter 7. Still waters in the valley of Psalm 23 find the eternal and abundant source in the "living fountains of water" of Revelation chapter 7. In this eternal abode hearts are fully satisfied (verse 16) with Christ.
It is at the conclusion of the journey for God's people, faithful martyrs for Jesus Christ, men and women who have come through persecution, suffering and death that we are finally able to weigh up the worth and value of all that has transpired before the eternal. Has earth been worth it? Has life been fare? Have the means been worth the end? Can we make sense of life now in the light of forever? The reflection and response of those martyred for Jesus is a resounding volley of praise and worship (verse 12); an emphatic 'yes'. Perhaps like them it would be wise for us to reserve judgment and assessment on our own trials and difficulties until finally we see life in the light of the Lamb, time from the perspective of forever.
A message preached in our systematic series of studies in the book of Revelation at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Tears begin to flow in Revelation chapter 5 at the possibility that this book in the hand of God could remain unopened. It is the losing of the seals of this momentous book which determines all else that subsequently happens in the unfolding purposes of God in this final prophetic conclusion to the Bible: the book of Revelation. This book, in the hand of God, is destined to be opened and read at the great white throne judgment, determining the destiny of God's redeemed people. It is the eternal list of those, sealed, saved and secure. This is the Lamb's book of life! That such a book should remain unread would be unthinkable.
There is to be found only one who is worthy to break the seals and thus open the book. Redemptive character and power are needed for this task. This alone is can be undertaken by the Lamb.
Revelation chapter 5 concludes with a great, unified, although diverse chorus of praise to the worthiness of the lamb, affirming that indeed He is worthy to take the book and unloose the seals. Each individual in heaven, in turn affirms who the Lamb is, what the Lamb is and what He has done.
To the elder He is the only one fitted by might and by moral right to take the throne of the universe. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and has proven His worth and character as a man born into and through the line of Judah. The Lamb upon the throne is uniquely qualified for this role. Unlike mere human and mortal kings the Lamb does not reign purely by inherited right nor even by convincing others of His personal ability nor might. His path of ascendency came through humanity, through the tribe of Judah. His life is an open book in the Gospels and in the scriptures. We see His character, "He did sin... He knew no sin... in Him is no sin." In every way He was tested like we are yet found to be without sin. He is worthy of the throne. He is worthy to reign.
To John He is marked with the attributes of God; all powerful with His 7 horns, all knowing and seeing with His 7 eyes and omnipresent with the 7 Spirits of God sent forth upon all the earth.
To the living creatures and 24 elders His motives and character are above and beyond reproach for He not only has a people, not only has He redeemed a people but the Lamb has redeemed them with His one blood. His people are precious to Him, infinitely and personally precious.
Finally we ask the angels for their perspective on the Lamb? Is He worthy? Ask the angels! He above all inhabitors of a throne is able by the purity of His character to handle absolute power, riches, wisdom, honour and glory without pride and without tyranny.
The one who sits today on the throne of the universe is absolutely trustworthy and dependable.
Part of our series of systematic Bible Teaching in the book of Revelation, brought by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Graceinchrist.org where bible teaching never sleeps.
It is John who assures us in Revelation chapter 21 vs 4 that there will be no tears in heaven and yet it is his very description of heaven that opens with the intensity of his own tears (Revelation 4:4). This is indeed a strange and sorrowful introduction to the tearless place. We may be unsurprised that the description of disaster, famine, plaque and pestilence of the subsequent chapters are preceded by tears. What is about to unfold in the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets, and the 7 vials amounts to global catastrophe and world wide destruction. The 4 riders of the apocalypse are followed by the veiling of the sun and the blood moon. The 7 trumpets announce the destruction of 1/3 of the land, 1/3 of the sea. 1/3 of the rivers as well as the solar, lunar and stellar disasters. The bottomless pit is opened and the demonic plaque of locusts are released upon the earth followed by 200 million horseman reeking destruction on the earth. Boils and sores are followed by seas and rivers of blood as the satanically inspired Kingdom of the beast comes crashing down along with the global economic and religious systems. Yet it is not because of any of this John weeps! Even more astounding than the weeping of John in heaven is his reason for weeping. John weeps that these seal may not be loosed and the book may not be opened!
Whatever this book contains the glory of the book is infinitely greater than the grief which it causes! This is a book which demands the redemptive rights of the lamb to open. This is not title deeds of the universe which in reality do not exist. The earth is and always has been the Lord's and the fullness thereof. He did not purchase, neither did He lose the earth. The earth is His by rights. The Creator needs no work of redemption to judge a fallen world; that is His Divine prerogative! Neither does this book contain the story of future events, not the book of revelation in part nor in whole. The story of Revelation chapter 6 to 19 are the product of the seals and not the scroll.
The identity of this book, is perhaps heaven's best kept secret and can only be that of the Lamb's Book of Life of Revelation chapters 20 and 21. It is only this book which requires redemptive rights to handle. It is only the Book of Life who's eternal Glory eclipses the grief of the loosed seals. It would be an unopened book of life which truly would be worth the tears of John for if the Lamb's book were never to be opened the fate of all would be that of eternal loss and damnation. This is indeed why John wept, he wept for you! The opening of this book determines the eternal destiny of all those whose names are contained within it's pages. Once this book is opened John will in chapters 20 and 21 present to us the presence and reality of the opened book of life of the Lamb. Let us value greatly the cost and consequence of our salvation.
Listen below or watch online to the full bible teaching message preached on Revelation chapter 5.
Dr J Stewart Gillespie shares a study in Revelation chapter 4 - What is Heaven Like? In this chapter we gain a glimpse beyond earth into heaven. God has waited for thousands of years through the writing and inspiration of the Bible before He reveals to us what heaven is like! By the time we get to Revelation chapter 4 we find that the most surprising feature of heaven is that it is not that surprising after all. There is a door into heaven, a door we have heard of before in John chapter 10 There is a voice we hear in heaven, the same voice we heard upon earth in Revelation chapter 1. There is a throne in heaven, the same throne we have known of over many years, as we prayed, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We glimpse the one seated upon the throne in the Jasper and the Sardine stone and perceive that here is the Son of God. We discern the absolute holiness of God in the crystal sea. Only Jesus is able to fit us for such a place. Only the precious blood of God's sin is able to cleanse us from all iniquity. This message is given in English and translated into Telugu.