REVELATION MESSAGE 14
The Great Day of Wrath – Revelation 6
“The great day of their wrath.”
Why is God so harsh in his judgment? Why does he have to bring, in the words of Isaiah, “a cruel day with wrath and fierce anger … to destroy sinners”? Other prophets call our attention to wailing, weeping, terror, pain, anguish, mourning, doom and darkness in anticipation of this great day of wrath. Isn’t that overkill? Hasn’t the hellfire and brimstone thing outlived its shelf life? Why does God insist on going to such extremes?
Because sin is bad, really bad. And sin has to be dealt with fully and completely for any of us to have any hope whatsoever.
We may think we know how bad sin is, and we obviously have some idea, but how much do we truly understand of a battle that stretches out over eons and from heaven to earth. Do we truly grasp the chasm that now exists between God and man?
Think about it. The scope, the extent, of the conflict. God’s creation … angelic first and then human, choosing a different path and rebelling against him, becoming the enemies of God.
You have heard the expression—“God only knows.” What could be more true when it comes to sin and the effect it has had on this planet. But there are some people who think they “have a handle” on sin. They deem themselves wise enough to make their own rules. They live by self-constructed moral codes, laws and standards. In fact, many in our world believe that they understand the sin issue so well that they have redefined sin. This new and improved version of sin is taught and promoted in our universities and many seminaries and even churches.
These people not only believe that they understand evil better than God and his prophets, but they scoff at the outdated and culturally irrelevant doctrines of Scripture. To them, God’s holy word is passé with the exception of selected texts that they regard as acceptable or satisfactory according to their standards.
So what happens then when you redefine evil? You next redefine the gospel. The biggest threat today to the sound teaching of the gospel is not in the wild, in the world, not the gay/lesbian groups, not liberal politicians, but right in the church, more specifically people in our churches, in leadership, in the pulpit and in the pew, who do not believe what God says about the sinfulness of humans before a holy God.
Does Jesus look like what most pictures of Him reveal? Did Jesus have long hair and wear a white robe as the pictures and movies portray? Did He look different from the rest of the Jews or was He no different from those of His day?
Did Jesus Have Long Hair?
I believe that we will be shocked on the day that we see Jesus Christ. Hopefully you will see Him on the day of His return as your Savior and not as your Judge, but we’ll discuss that later but right now we are asking if Jesus had long hair. The Bible is silent on the length of His hair but there is no reason to believe that He had the long, flowing locks of hair that the movies portrayed Him as having or the thousands of pictures that display Him with long hair. Jews of the day never wore their hair long. In fact Paul knew that it was customarily a shame for a man to have long hair (1 Cor 11:14) and knowing that Jesus was a carpenter, having long hair would have gotten in the way of His work.
I believe that we will be shocked on the day that we see Jesus Christ.
Jesus: A Man’s Man
Jesus was not the effeminate looking man that most images reveal Him as. He was a carpenter and carpenters in those days not only worked with wood, they worked with stones. They had no power tools of course so the wood had to be cut by using hand tools and great physical labor which must have took long, tedious hours to work with. The wood was not like what we see today; two by fours or four by sixes. They worked with large timbers of roughhewn wood. These timbers had to be cut down by hand and they had to be sawed down into workable sections. They had to be debarked and sanded. And carpenters in those days worked with stone more than they did wooden beams. And these stones were just not simple stepping stones or mortar bricks but more like boulders and these boulders had to be chiseled and cut down to size. Every bit of the carpenters work was extremely labor intensive and so we should realize that Jesus had to have been a big, strong man with great physical strength, yet He kept this strength under control in what is a good description of meekness: Strength under control. So we see that Jesus was a man’s man and may have had the body of a heavy construction worker. He must have been an imposing physical specimen.
Did He Look Different from Fellow Jews?
Time and time again, the New Testament records that Jesus slipped away into the crowds and that the religious officials, when looking for Him, frequently couldn’t find Him? Why was this so? Because Jesus must have looked much like any other rabbi of the day with a robe yes, but not with the long hair that we think He wore. There are dozens of accounts where Jesus simply slipped away and blended into the crowds:
John 5:13 “Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.”
Luke 4:30 “but he slipped away through the crowd and left them.”
John 7:11 “The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?”
John 11:56 “They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?”
If Jesus had a long, white flowing robe and He had long hair, He would have been easy to spot, since historical accounts show that the Jews in Jesus’ day had short hair. He likely had a beard but so did many of the Jewish men in that day. There is every indication that Jesus was hard to pick out of a crowd but when He wanted to be seen, He was able to make Himself visible.
Not Much to Look At
Isaiah described Jesus as looking like an ordinary man and that there nothing special in His appearance that would make Him stand out. Isaiah described Him in 53: 2b “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” He wouldn’t fit in well with the prosperity preachers on TV. He wouldn’t make a popular itinerant preacher today. He wouldn’t be getting millions of hits on YouTube. This is because Jesus was not especially handsome and there was “nothing special in His appearance that would make Him stand out” which matches with the many New Testament references of Him easily slipping through the crowds. He was not desirous to look upon nor had no beauty (in the Jewish vernacular this means that He wasn’t handsome). Jesus’ humanity made Him out to be no different looking than any other man of the day. Otherwise, we really don’t know what Jesus looked like other than He was an ordinary looking man, that He was strong and extremely physically fit and that He was able to blend in with the crowds very easily. The Bible is silent on exactly what He looked like and if the Bible is silent on His exact appearance, then God apparently doesn’t think it’s important for us to know.
We do know exactly what Jesus looks like…at least today. Here is the only appearance of Jesus that anyone needs to know for sure and since it’s revealed in the Bible, God did think this was important enough for us to know. John describes Jesus and when he saw Him he fell down on his face as a dead man as we read in Revelation 1:13-18:
“in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
That is what Jesus looks like today. If you have failed to repent, there is still time but if you don’t, He will appear to you as described above but He will be your Judge and it will not go well with your soul (Rev 20:11-15) but if He is your Savior today, your future is so amazing that I can’t even describe it. Everyone will see Jesus someday and will know exactly what He looks like. It doesn’t matter what He looked like on earth but it will matter for all eternity what He looks like now. Today, He is your Judge or He is your Savior. It’s your choice.
Something is simple if it is easily understood; plain, basic; uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; straightforward.
Something is complicated if it is intricate, complex, involved, convoluted; hard to understand or untangle; difficult to analyze.
So is salvation simple or complicated?
In an online article on the BBC(1), religion is explained “as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe … and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”
Reference dot com(3) estimates that there were 4,200 different religions in the world as of 2014. So if we accept those statistics, then there are at least 4,200 voices addressing the subject of salvation or religion. That seems very complicated to me.
And we wouldn’t want to leave out our philosophers, some of whom, according to the American Philosophical Association(2) take on challenges such as reconciling “our apparently special epistemic relationship to our own beliefs with a broadly naturalistic epistemology” and dealing with “issues in epistemology and the philosophy of mind regarding belief.”
On top of all of that we have over 7 billion people on the planet who by default—according to Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25—view the world in the way that seems right to them. So we have the voices of thousands of religions and philosophies, and billions of opinions addressing the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.
This multitude of voices could be terribly overwhelming, enough so to even cause a person to wonder how he or she could know anything at all for sure. Who am I? Why am I here? How do I fit in the grand scheme of things? So very complicated.
Unless … unless we listen to God, one voice, God’s voice.
The complexity of life on the planet melts away when we listen to God in his holy word, the Bible. God identifies our problem. Yes, problem as in singular, as in one—our sin. Having accurately identified our problem, God provides the solution. Salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
REVELATION MESSAGE 13 – The Lion Is a Lamb
You have probably already figured this out, but we are canceling all services tomorrow, January 15, 2017, at Faith Fellowship Church. No SS, no morning worship and no annual meeting. Everything will be pushed to next week, January 22, 2017.
Please be very careful. If you don’t have to get out, then don’t. If you absolutely need something, please call me or Steve or another board member and let us help.