Supernatural (Week 5)

Supernatural: When Heaven Came Down to Earth!

[This Advent Series focuses on the Angels Perspective of the Christmas Story]

December 30, 2018 by Pastor Jerry Ingalls at First Baptist Church in New Castle, Indiana

 Message #4: “Angels: Participants in the Last Things!”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

(We apologize, but this week our sound system was disabled by an apparent power surge in New Castle.  We have a special version of the video to share with you.  Please click HERE to view it.)

Angels are God’s loyal army who deliver messages and faithfully minister to God’s people. Angels were present at the beginning, have had God-ordained roles throughout salvation history, and according to God’s Word have a direct role in the last things.

 

Listen to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

These words, like all prophetic words in scripture, were given for this reason: to comfort God’s people in the face of current sufferings and hardships and the fear and anxiety caused by the unknown of the future. In the same way that God gives us His Word to comfort us, God sends his heavenly host (angels) to minister to us. As Hebrews 1:14 asks, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 discusses the rapture of the Church from the earth, the taking of God’s people to Heaven in preparation for the seven years of tribulation which are necessary for the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel. This is the imminent expectation and hopeful promise for the Church. God’s people are living in the season of the Second Advent—we live in anticipation of what has been promised as God is leading us toward the consummation of all things which includes the fulfillment of all His covenant promises! I believe the promises of the Second Advent will be fulfilled the same way that the promises of the First Advent were fulfilled—literally, spiritually and fully according to God’s Word. God’s promises are for the whole of God’s creation because God’s purposes for creating the heavens and the earth will not be thwarted by evil or sin, but will be redeemed by truth and grace as revealed in Jesus Christ.

 

But we must not make the same mistake that the religious leaders (Sadducees and Pharisees) of Jesus’ time made. The Sadducees missed the First Advent because they did not believe in certain supernatural realities, such as angels and the resurrection from the dead. Their view of scripture did not allow them to see Jesus for who He so clearly declared and showed Himself to be. In fact, their view of Scripture caused them to not just miss it, but to reject and demonize Jesus. On the other hand, the Pharisees missed the First Advent because they too rigidly held to their literal interpretations of the prophecies of the coming Messiah so they too not only missed Jesus as Messiah, but they rejected Jesus as from being of God and ultimately killed him, because He and the events around Him didn’t happen according to their interpretations and timelines. Both ways of thinking are gutters still today, either extreme of prophetic interpretation: the lack of spiritual insight to the Scripture or the rigid adherence to a limited perspective of what has been revealed.

 

Did you hear that the voice of the archangel will be a part of the Rapture of the church? This is not the only time we will see the angels at the time of the last things. Jesus teaches about angels in Matthew 13:37-43, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

 

The angels are participants in the end times of God making all things right because angels are God’s heavenly host. God’s army will not fail in bringing to completion that which God has willed. Revelation 12:7-11 proclaims of the angelic involvement of the final victory over evil, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.’ And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

 

And this paves the way to the greatest reality of God’s will. That God is going to purify and perfect this cursed creation to bring about our final blessed home in the Eternal Kingdom of God—the earth shall return to what God intended: God’s family all together in Eden. The Bible calls this redemption of all things the New Heaven and New Earth. In Revelation 21—22, the angel shows John God’s final dwelling for us with Him. It will be just as Adam and Eve were with Him before the Fall, but even better! This time we’ll be in a glorified state where there will be no more possibility of rebellion (sin), for evil will have been judged and removed from creation, and there will be no more death. And guess what, it is right down here, on earth.

 

When Heaven is on Earth! The Second Advent will be fulfilled just as literally and just as spiritually and just as fully as the First Advent! Listen to sections of Revelation 21:9—22:5, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

 

Church be comforted for you have a heavenly army (angels) who will ensure that the will of God happens in each of our lives and for all of creation. Just as angels were there at the beginning, they will be there at the end. Just as we have celebrated and proclaimed the fulfillment of God’s promises for the First Advent (Christmas), let us celebrate and proclaim the Second Advent (the Second Coming of Christ).

 

As Paul says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

 
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