How to Survive Armageddon

March 24, 2024

Gracious God, I ask now that You would give me a humble heart that I might decrease and Christ would increase and give to these Your people ears to hear just what the Spirit means to say through this inspired Word. In Christ we pray. Amen.

Our text this morning comes from the last book in the Bible. We’ve been in a series for many months now in Revelation. We will take one week off next week for Easter, but this morning we come to Revelation chapter 16. Beginning at verse 12 through the end of the chapter. Revelation has been structured in these middle chapters around a series of sevens; seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls poured out, judgments and difficulties and trials upon the earth. And with each one the sixth, here we have bowls, brings an intensification leading to the end and then the seventh where the end comes.

So we have elements here that a mix both of God’s judgments and discipline on the earth at all times and in all places but especially with the sixth and seventh of each series, really looking forward to what will be the final day and the end of the age.

Revelation chapter 16, beginning at verse 12.

“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”

“The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.”

At first glance, it may not seem like Palm Sunday and Armageddon have much in common. You would be forgiven for thinking that surely perhaps a slight deviation from the sermon series would have been in order. It’s true. Palm Sunday, what we have been singing about and here the palms, does not really have the same feel as what we just read from Revelation 16. Palm Sunday is a scene filled with celebration, singing, children, the meekness and dignity of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. It is a scene if we were picturing it in our mind with greens and blues and bright sunshine like today.

Armageddon is something different. It’s a scene filled evil spirits, demonic frogs, deadly hailstone, complete destruction, cataclysmic judgment. It can’t help but form in our mind’s eye a picture that is dark, murky, foreboding, dire.

Now despite these obvious differences, differences in content, in mood, and in tone, the two scenes are actually intimately connected. In fact, I hope you will see by the end that the former, that is Palm Sunday, points out the remedy for the latter, this scene of Armageddon. Palm Sunday shows us, as the title suggests, how to survive Armageddon. We will come back to that theme at the end but first we need to understand what is going on in Revelation 16.

I hope you have a Bible open we can try to understand this together. We have in these verses the sixth and seventh bowl of God’s wrath being poured out on the world. The sixth bowl describes a final, climatic battle between good and evil, God and Satan, that will take place at the end of history. It is not entirely different from the continuing battle between God and Satan, good and evil, that has gone on in every age but this is describing something brought to a fevered pitch. Not different but here we have something that is brought to a final intensity.

We have these same kinds of dire conflicts going on in our world all the time. If you follow the news in Nigeria, it doesn’t make the headlines as some other parts of the world, Christian churches continue to be destroyed there. Hundreds of Christians have already been martyred this year. This is after an estimated 7000 Christians were murdered as part of religious violence in that country last year. By some estimates over the past 20 years in Nigeria millions of Christians have had their land taken from them and anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 Christians have been murdered. And that’s just one part of the world.

So this battle depicted in the sixth bowl will not be a new conflict. It won’t be something never before seen on the earth but it will be a final culmination of the hostility that has existed ever since Genesis 3 between the serpent and the seed of the woman, between the dragon, as we’ve seen played out in Revelation, the dragon and his two beasts, and between the woman, that is the Church, and the child, that is Christ.

The final battle described in Revelation 16 may have a literal physical component, it’s possible that it will come to fruition with some kind of actual armies’ actual bloodshed, but the most important reality described is a spiritual battle. So we do not know that before the end there will be some final world war 3 or 4 or 5 or whatever the case may be. We should not assume that the end of the world happens with a massive, all-planet military showdown. Could be like that.

Or wouldn’t it be like the Lord to do something a bit more surprising? This imagery is, after all, remember, imagery. These were first of all visions that John saw and then he wrote down. The Euphrates is mentioned not because we should look for a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East, but we already saw this, you may recall, in Revelation chapter 9. There was another mention of the great river Euphrates.

But the mention here of the Euphrates and the East is because the enemies of God’s people in the Old Testament came from the East. Ever since the garden, the realm of evil was presented as being, and John Steinbeck helpfully penned a book with this title, East of Eden. So many times in Genesis already when you look out and there is some evil on the horizon, it is depicted as East of Eden. It’s not because East is bad and West is always good, but in the biblical imagery the East. You think about where Israel was, the West was the Mediterranean so the East invariably, as armies would come, superpowers would come, it would be from the East.

The kings that captured Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and then fought against Abraham in the opening chapters of Genesis, they were kings from the East.

The Assyrians, which wiped out Israel in 722 B.C., they would have had to come from the North and the East, cross over the Euphrates, and then come over from the East.

The same with the Babylonians who would come and cart off so many of the Jews in 586, 587, they also came from the East.

And each of those great armies, the Assyrians and the Babylonians, would have to cross the great river Euphrates.

Later with the Meads and the Persians, all of those foes and those enemies of God’s people, those superpowers in the region would come from the East.

So when Revelation says “the waters of Euphrates would be dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East,” it should have been understood as a metaphor for the coming of God’s enemies.

It’s hard for us. We have Mexico to the south of the United States, Canada to the north. We love both but if we had said that “and then a great army from the North,” we wouldn’t instinctively think that the Canadians were coming, but given their history as God’s people, and even though Revelation they’re scattered throughout Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, yet the biblical imagery was from the East.

Now notice there is a profound irony here. Even as this is a cataclysmic battle to come, you see verse 13, “out of the mouth of the dragon.” Now why the mouth? Because the devil mainly works by lies. The devil is not so interested in haunting your house and making heads spin around. The devil works by lies. So out of his mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast.

Remember there were two beasts. The first beast was the prostitution of the State, a false State, and the second beast was a false religion, the perversion of governmental authority, the perversion of religious authority. Here, instead of two beasts, it’s called a beast and then the mouth of the false prophet, because that second beast was like a false prophet giving authority and lending credence to that first beast.

Out of their mouth come these unclean spirits, demonic spirits, like frogs, they’re depicted. Frogs. Why? Because the imagery here is pulling from the plagues on Egypt. Again, for God’s people, to think of when judgments come, they come like plagues. So in fact it’s called here in verse 21, the plague of hail.

So these demonic creatures who deceive the world are marshaling their forces. Now what would seem to be for God’s people the moment of their utter destruction, obligatory reference to Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings here for a moment and you just picture reading the books or maybe you’ve seen the movies, and just these hordes of armies of Orcs or the Uruk-hai or of all the men and the foul beasts from throughout Middle Earth and just marching out into these great plains, ready to do this great battle.

Well, here in this scene, the irony is while it looks for all the world that this is going to be the final destruction of God’s people because all the kings and all the armies of the earth have arrayed themselves against God’s people, yet God is up to something. Just like he did at the Red Sea.

You remember when God’s people fled in the Exodus and there they come to the banks of the Red Sea and they are hemmed in and Pharaoh’s army is there? And Pharaoh’s army has them trapped, between a literal rock and a hard place. They have nowhere to go. At that moment where it seems surely a superior force is arrayed against God’s people, and they are all going to be slaughtered by Pharaoh’s army, or drowned in the Red Sea, but what does God have in store? To part the waters and as the people pass through and they’re safely on the other side, the waters would swallow up the Egyptian army.

So that’s what God has here in this final decisive battle with this imagery. All of the armies are there together. It’s like a general luring the armies of his enemies into one place at the same time, giving them the illusion that they’re surely about to be victorious and then at just the right moment a nuclear weapon falls on them and the entire opposition is wiped out.

Beloved, we must always remember God has a plan even when we do not know what it is. And, on the flip side, remember the enemies of God are almost always more confident than they should be. God’s people sometimes are more fearful than we should be and the enemies of God are more confident. This would be the moment of their supreme triumph.

In fact, if you know your Bible, you know there are so many occasions when it looks certain that the enemies of God would prevail. In fact, you should read your Bible, and once you understand how these things work, when you get to a moment where it looks like God’s people are sure to be defeated, you should get your spiritual Spidey-sense tingling, say something good is about to happen. Because God is going to do something.

The tower of Babel, all the people there with their great and mighty triumph, the tower reaching to the sky, was that moment when God was about to confuse their languages and scatter them across the earth.

The Israelites seemingly trapped at the Red Sea would be the moment where He would deliver them finally from Pharaoh’s hand.

You think in the book of Esther of Haman’s plot against the Jews. When it seemed that the Jews would be wiped out, and yet God turns it there and the gallows will be for Haman.

Or most important of all, that long Saturday in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, when surely it seemed to those half-hearted, half-believing disciples that their faith had been in vain, that the One they thought was the King, the One that they thought was their Messiah, their Deliverer, the unthinkable had happened. He had been crucified at the hand of the hated Romans and delivered up by their own people, and yet we know that wasn’t the end of the story.

So as this army gathers for one final showdown, ready they think to wipe out God’s people, we know that God is bringing them into one place that He might decisively destroy the enemies of God.

Three evil spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, that’s Satan. The first beast, the oppressive political system; the second beast, or the false prophet, that’s the religious establishment that legitimizes the worldly state. The frogs come out because they execute their warfare by lies.

We see here in chapter 16 the place where the kings gather together, look at verse 16, I know you want to know about this verse, is called Armageddon. First thing you’ll find online if you Google Armageddon is a very bad movie from 15 years ago. I didn’t see it but I am quite confident in saying it’s not a very good representation of what will happen.

This word “Armageddon” is a transliteration from the Hebrew “har magedon.” “Har” means mountain and “magedon” meaning the city or the plain of Megiddo. So this is the mountain of Megiddo, which is a two days walk north of Jerusalem, near Mount Carmel, a little south of the Sea of Galilee.

The reference to har magedon, or Megiddo, is not a prophecy about literal geography. That is to say we should not be looking for the end of the world to occur in this plain or this valley or some mountain 65 miles north of Jerusalem. Now, it is tempting to think that because there is a very often great conflict in that part of the world, but this is not a prophecy about a literal geographic place.

Let me give you a few reasons why.

Number one. First, there is no discernible mountain in Megiddo. In the first century, there might have been a small hill but there is no mountain. It is in fact a plain, and as we’ll see in a moment, it is referenced throughout the Old Testament as a plain. Now why it is called a mountain we’ll come to in a moment because it’s pulling this together with another prophecy from the Old Testament. So that’s one reason.

Second. Megiddo is only one picture of the place of the last battle. For example, in most of the prophets and later in Revelation chapter 20 verse 9, the last battle is said to take place in Jerusalem, not at Mount Megiddo. So this last battle, which again is really a spiritual battle, may or may not be represented in some final military showdown. This great spiritual battle is depicted as being in different places because the prophetic imagery is speaking at different things and they’re not literal geographic markers.

Here’s a third reason. Megiddo should not be taken as the literal location of the end of the world unless, think about it, we are prepared to take the rest of the imagery in this chapter literally. Some people will say, “Well, Pastor, don’t you take the Bible literally?” Well, literally, some people mean don’t you take the Bible as being all true. Well, of course, I take the Bible as being all true. But “literal” has to do with a way of reading certain texts and certain texts have different genre and this is a genre of apocalyptic literature where we are given truth in signs and symbols and visions.

Do we think that there will be literal demonic frogs? Just three of them, coming out across the earth. Well, people instinctively say, “Well, no, that’s just imagery.” Do we think there will be a literal prostitute sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns, as we’ll see in chapter 17? No.

When we read Revelation, unless there is overwhelming reason to think otherwise, we ought to assume we are seeing pictures, impressions, metaphors, symbols. These places are figurative, just like the image in the rest of this chapter is figurative. It would be strange then to say, well, we got pictures of beasts and frogs and bowls and now all of a sudden we’re meant to get out the exact latitude and longitude of the end of the world. That’s not how Revelation works.

So why then do we have this place, Har Megiddo? Because Megiddo is where the Israelites in the Old Testament were frequently attacked by pagan armies.

Here are some examples. Judges 5:19 – The kings came, they fought, then fought the kings of Canaan at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.

2 Kings 23:29 – In the days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went out to meet him, and Pharaoh Neco killed him at Megiddo as soon as he saw him.

Similarly in 2 Chronicles 35. It says the same thing, that Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt, and his men “came to fight in the plain of Megiddo.”

So frequently in the Old Testament, not always but frequently, when we have a depiction of God’s people and pagan armies, whether it be the Assyrians or the Egyptians coming out, they meet in this plain of Megiddo.

Well, why does Revelation call it Har Megiddo? That is, the mountain of Megiddo, instead of a plain. It’s because of Ezekiel 38 and 39. There Ezekiel talks about Gog and Magog. We’ll come back to that in Revelation 20. It talks about God’s enemies assembling at the mountain of Israel. So Revelation, as it does all throughout the book, is heaping up metaphors and symbols and images and allusions from throughout the Old Testament. So they’re heaping up this prophecy from Ezekiel about the armies gathering at the mountain of the Lord and then these other passages about God’s people doing battle on the plains of Megiddo and it becomes the mountain of Megiddo. Har Megiddo. Or, as you have it in your Bible in English, Armageddon.

That’s the sixth bowl. Like the sixth seal and the sixth trumpet, the sixth bowl shows a transition from this age to the age to come.

The seventh bowl, verses 17 and following, finishes things off. So we see that the plague is poured out on the air. You see that in verse 17 – and the angel poured out his bowl into the air. In verse 2 we had a judgment on the earth. Verses 3 through 6 a judgment on the water. Verse 8 scorched people with fire. So the four elements as the ancients understood them – earth, water, fire, and now air. So this is the completion, this is the totality, the comprehensive judgment on the earth.

Now this bowl is poured out on the air and we have, as we’ve seen many times, in verse 18 typical end of the world language, which we saw verbatim at the end of the seals and at the end of the trumpets and now at the end of the bowls. Each time we have the same sequence and each one gets a little more intense.

So we read in verse 18 there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, a great earthquake such as there had never been since was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. We read also that in addition to this earthquake, verse 21, great hailstones, about 100 pounds each.

So this is another depiction of the end of the age. It’s why we don’t read Revelation as just one giant timeline, each verse following chronologically on the next. There are these cycles. So for at least the third time, we’ve come to the cataclysmic end of the earth. This one is even more intense. The city cracks up, the islands flee, the mountains crumble, hail pounds the earth, and Babylon the Great, that wicked worldly system, is destroyed, drinks the cup of the fury of God’s wrath.

What Revelation will do is back up chronologically, this is the end of the world at the end of verse 16, or chapter 16. What chapter 17 and 18 will do will back up chronologically and then zoom in thematically, and in chapter 17 and 18 there will be a close-up picture of Babylon. What is this worldly system like? This harlot, this prostitute. What is the fall of Babylon like?

So 17 and 18 backing up chronologically, zooming in thematically.

But here at the end of chapter 16, the end has come, and it comes with a giant plague of hail. Quite fitting that this is the seventh bowl, and you can go and check for yourself, but the seventh plague to fall on Egypt in the Old Testament was the plague of hail. So there is all throughout Revelation many parallels with the judgments that God did upon Egypt, because that was the paradigmatic rescue of God’s people. If you wanted one Old Testament story to show what is it like when God judges the enemies of His people, and He rescues His people, it’s the story of the Exodus.

So the seventh plague in Egypt was hail. The end here of the age with the seventh bowl culminates in a destructive plague a hundred pounds. Again, I don’t think to be taken literally – that will get the meteorologists scrambling – but a massive, cataclysmic judgment on the earth.

So, you say, what is the connection between all of this destruction and judgment of Armageddon and Palm Sunday? You promised us, Pastor, that you were going to connect this with these pretty palms here. What’s the connection?

The connection is found in weeping, in weeping.

Turn to Luke chapter 19. This is Luke’s story of Palm Sunday. You see in Luke chapter 19 the heading above verse 28 – The Triumphal Entry. That’s what we all Palm Sunday. We’ve been singing about it and the children sang so lovely for us. We call Palm Sunday the triumphal entry.

But it’s a bit of a misnomer. It was more like a triumphal approach because even before He finally gets to Jerusalem, the mood of triumph and victory has turned to tears. See the heading before verse 41? Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.

“And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

He’s thinking most immediately of the destruction that will come from Titus in 70 A.D., but it’s also a precursor of the end of the age. Even before on this day of victory, that’s what palm branches mean, they were signs, they were given there with King Solomon, they were well-known signs that a king had arrived victorious. So they lay their cloaks on the ground and they wave palm branches. This is our king finally come to His throne. And before He even makes it there, Jesus is moved to tears because He knows, He knows what will happen and He knows what won’t happen. They won’t receive Him. They won’t believe in Him.

Nathan alluded to this earlier in the service, but it is probably not that the crowds were so fickle that these exact ones would later cry out “crucify Him.” The mood of the city would change. These are the Galileans who have come out. These are the people that have been following Him and His itinerant ministry, many of them from Galilee up where Jesus was born and did most of His ministry. So these are likely not the very same people who later in the week would cry “crucify Him,” but these people would go quiet. They would go silent. They would be confused and bewildered as to what would happen. Jesus knew, just as John’s Gospel tells us, that the light which shined in the darkness and the darkness would not comprehend it. So He wept to know that they would not receive Him.

There’s more weeping. You saw it in that little clip at the beginning of the service. Jesus in Luke Chapter 23. Turn there to verse 26.

“As they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’”

More weeping.

Jesus could be so unsentimental. Here are women who care for Jesus and as they see Him being led to be crucified, stumbling, beaten, soon to be killed, how could they not weep and they mourn for Him. But Jesus musters up His strength, and you would think of all these moments, perhaps Jesus just accept that they’re sad, maybe Jesus should just say “thank you.” But He’s still teaching, He’s still leading them, and He knows that the point of what He’s about to suffer is not that they would feel sorry for Jesus, not that they would weep and mourn because a man would be crucified.

You know two other men would be crucified on this same day, two other men would suffer the pain and the shame of hanging on a cross, and in fact what they marveled at is Jesus died so quickly, so much more quickly than the other two men.

So, no, Jesus knows you cannot turn this into a day where you simply feel sorry for a good man because He suffered and died. Jesus says if you want to weep, if you’re really going to shed tears, you ought to weep over your own sin, weep for you and your children, for the judgment that is coming. If you do not turn, and surely if you’ve been with us for this series in Revelation, that language “to the mountains, fall on us, to the hills, cover us” is the very same words that come out of inhabitants of the earth at the end of Revelation 6 when the wrath of the Lamb is revealed because then it’s too late. There’s weeping.

So Revelation 16:21 ends as great hailstones fall on the earth and the people curse God because the plague was so severe. Again, they did not repent. They cursed Him. They would weep in their pain and their agony rather than turn. The hardness of heart that Jesus anticipated in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday now at the end of the age.

And lest you think that I’m straining to see these connections, they were actually all predicted in Zechariah chapter 12. Zechariah is a messianic prophecy. It’s a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem’s enemies. Zechariah chapter 12 is an apocalyptic chapter. Zechariah 12:3 says “on that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples, all who lift it will surely hurt themselves and all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” Zechariah 12:3. Gather against it. So Zechariah is looking at a day when all of the peoples of the earth would be arrayed against God’s anointed.

Sounds very much like this final battle described in Revelation 12.

And in Zechariah 12:10 says, “I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy so that when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him.” The One that they have pierced.

This language, this prophecy, was already given in Revelation 1:7 – “They will look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced.” It’s the same prophecy referred explicitly in John 19:37, taken to be a prophecy of the crucified Christ, that they will look upon the One and they will weep.

Here’s where it all connects. Revelation 16 also alludes, not only to Zechariah 12:3 and 12:10 with the cross, but now Zechariah 12:11, the very next verse, says “On that day,” listen to this, “on that day the mourning in Jerusalem,” that is weeping in Jerusalem, “will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” In the plain of Megiddo. This is surely the prophecy that John has most in his mind, inspired by the Holy Spirit, when he writes Revelation 16.

Put it all together. Zechariah predicts a battle where the nations will gather together against Jerusalem, where God will work salvation for His people, where they will look upon the One that they have pierced, and they will weep. And finally for a day of great mourning that will take place in the plain of Megiddo. All of this was prophesied in Zechariah chapter 12, finding its fulfillment at various stages at the cross and finally at the vision that John sees at the end of the age.

Which brings us to the question that is the very title of this sermon – How then shall we survive Armageddon? How shall we escape this great day of weeping and mourning?

Well, Jesus tells us, right in Revelation chapter 16, you see that there in verse 15? “Behold,” He says, this is a quotation from Christ, “I am coming like a thief. Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

There are two word pictures here, saying the same thing – Be ready. The Lord’s coming will be like a thief. You don’t know when thieves come. The thief tells you when he’s come, he’s not long for the career of being a thief. He comes unexpected. And the Lord’s coming is like a master returning from a long journey.

I remember back in my baby-sitting days, yes, people would entrust me with baby-sitting their kids. Sometimes now when my wife goes out and our kids say, “Is dad baby-sitting?” My wife says, “It’s not baby-sitting when it’s your father. He’s parenting, that’s what it’s called.” But I remember waiting for the parents and I didn’t want to be asleep. I don’t know what they would have done if they’d found me asleep on the couch, but I wanted to be awake, I wanted them to know that I was paying attention. Certainly wasn’t going to change into my pajamas like this scene, or these are quite different pajamas. You want to be ready, you want to be awake.

So Jesus says you don’t know when the end will be coming. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t think we should assume that there’s a great cataclysmic final battle. That would be so obvious. Everyone would, oh, well, here it is, it’s all happening north of Jerusalem, every army in the world, all right, here it is.

That’s not the picture. The picture is you will be surprised so stay awake. Don’t get your pajamas on just yet. Don’t compromise with the world. Don’t neglect your spiritual disciplines. Don’t give up going to church. Don’t give up being vigilant against your own sin. Don’t ignore the call of God in your life. Don’t assume. Don’t assume you have another decade. Don’t assume you have another year to your life. Don’t assume, no matter your age, that you and I have one more day of living. Be ready to give an account before God and the Lamb.

One other way to put it is to say “Weep now so you can rejoice later.” Weep now over your sin, over the brokenness and the destruction on our world. Weep now so you can rejoice later. Of course, we get rejoicing now as well, sorrowful yet always rejoicing, but weep over your sins. That’s at the very heart of what it means to be ready. That’s why this refrain throughout Revelation 16 as we’ve seen is that they did not repent though they had sores, though they gnawed their tongues, though 100-pound hailstones fell on the earth, yet they cursed God for all the pain that they were experiencing. They considered the pain of repentance to be even worse.

So they did not weep for their sins. They wept for their pain, doesn’t take the Spirit of God to weep over pain. No one likes suffering. It takes the Spirit of God to weep over their sins.

Turn from your sins. Turn to Christ. The remedy for sin can be seen here in this passage in the recompense that falls upon the nations. How could we not notice this language at the end of verse 17, when a voice cries from the throne, “It is done.” Now admittedly it’s not the exact same Greek word. Same idea. Where will we hear that again this week? But on the cross from the Lord Jesus Christ, “It is finished.”

And when they are made to drink, verse 19, Babylon to drain the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath, where we will hear that language this week? But Jesus in the garden pleading with His Father, “If possible, Father, would You take this cup?” It’s the very same cup, you understand. It’s the cup to drink down to the very dregs, the cup of the fury of God’s wrath. Christ said, “If there’s another way, Father, then take this cup, but nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done.”

The way to survive Armageddon, and there’s only one way, is that Christ on the cross would say it is finished and it would be for your sins, that Christ would drink that cup of the fury of the wrath of God so that you and I do not have to drink that cup on the last day, for He drained it down to the very bottom, down to the bitter dregs that you and I could rejoice if we would but weep for our sins now and rejoice then, so that at the day of His return, having forsaken our sins, having clung to Christ alone as our Lord and Savior and treasure, that at that day of His return we could cry out like the pilgrims did and the children rang out on Palm Sunday, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Let’s pray. Father in heaven, so work by Your Spirit to move us to repent, that we might escape the day of wrath which is surely coming on the world, and it will come like a thief. So let us be ready that we might turn from sin and turn to Christ and find in Him such a gracious Savior, such a good Lord, and One who can keep us to the very end. In His name we pray. Amen.