In Anticipation of Heaven’s Victory Parade

By John Thiel

Scripture Reading: 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he [is] the King of glory.  

The hymn I saw one weary underlines the sentiment for the message for this hour. I saw one weary, sad and torn, press on the way. He’s long carried the cross, looking for the promised day. His face is lined with grief and care and upon his brow is furrowed all this care but something buoyed his spirits. There was one fighting the battle, the world’s cold crown. He fought unyielding on the field to win an everlasting crown. He was oppressed by foes yet no murmur from his heart arose. There was one who left behind cherished friends, honour and wealth to tread a path bedewed with tears. Through trials deep and conflicts sore, he still smiled. Why? We pilgrims here journey on in this dark vale of sin and gloom through tribulation, hate and scorn through the portals of the tomb.

Have you come across the thought I can’t anymore, it’s too much, I’m not going to follow Jesus anymore it’s too hard, it’s relentless. I don’t see any let up and I’m getting weary. I’m getting weary with relentless conflict and it’s not going to get any better because Revelation 12:17 says Satan has given trouble to the church ever since its launching with Adam and Eve and he has finally cranked up his antagonism for us living right now. He’s not only angry with the woman but has come to make war with the remnant of her seed. Who wants to be among them? There is only conflict and trial. Here is the war cry. Come on, let’s keep on going, be sober, be vigilant. Why?

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

The devil is making war with the remnant of her seed. He is going around like a waring lion ready to pounce and destroy people. Who’s next? It’s not very nice is it? We’ve nothing better to look forward to on this planet earth however long it takes but only worsening circumstances. A long journey in the wilderness like the children of Israel. Living in tents, no comforts and nothing smooth. We’re heading to Canaan and there are a lot of disappointments on the way. We can hardly cope with the discipline require. Discipline, what a tiring word. Tired of discipline, I just want to do what I want to do and I don’t want to be told that I should not be doing what I want to do. Is that right? With the prospect of the future with more discipline, we’re not disciplined enough yet, it’s going to get more intense. I’ve just returned from a very tedious trip. We left Perth to travel 60 hours with 8 people in a van non-stop. Hardly any time to stop and have a picnic. It was go go, go. We got to our destination, we had the camp for four days and then 60 hours back again. I had no time to refresh myself and sleep so I could rest through the night. As we were travelling there were grumbles because of the difficulty of the way. I thought yes, this is no different to us travelling towards heaven. We heard people say I don’t want to go through this anymore, I want to fly back home. Sorry, there’s no way back brethren and sisters. It’s either forward or death, that’s all. The thing that encourages me along the way as I was travelling was the wonderful anticipation of a wonderful camp meeting. That kept me driving to put up with all the inconveniences. It was a glorious camp, then to travel all the way back again, I’m going to be home after all these hours travelling. I was looking forward to a good sleep and that keep me going. This is a powerful object lesson.

The journey to our destination, the final glorious victory, the awesome ceremony of the coming home of God’s saints and the celebration, the parade that is written off in the scriptures. When an army that has been fighting in battle in the first and second world war, they went out to fight, it went on for years. When the battle was won as victors, they came home as heroes and they marched in disciplined order with the band and the audience praised them for their victorious effort. While they were at war there was nothing attractive. Out there in the blood, mud and gore in the depressive circumstances there was no joy. But the end, the victory, the ceremony, the glorious parade, the bringing home of the victors, that was something worth fighting for. The parade is so impressive when the soldiers who have been taught discipline to walk in file without anyone out of step, that was a drill and a training that was harsh and difficult. If anyone has been in the army, my father described it to me. They had to go out to parade and they had to make sure and get up at 5am and they had to dress in a certain uniform for different events. They had to leave their barracks perfectly tidy and they had so many minutes to change. If their room was not absolutely tidy, they found everything in a mess as the corporals would pull everything apart and they had to change and tidy up again. The discipline was severe. When they are able to perform in a parade in such perfect symmetry and order, the glory of the display of that, the heart of the nation thrills to see them.  The joy and pride of its national glory and the music of a marching happy tune and then it is all over. The relief, the well drilled procession of the parade all thrills the soldiers and they can’t help but smile for rejoicing. A sense of inexpressive exhilaration takes place at the time of that parade. All made possible by the previous struggle, suffering and conflict which made the final glorious display and the suffering worthwhile. How can this compare with the arrival of King Jesus in the heavenly courts of the earths redeemed? How can an army on earth compare with that? After 6000 years of warfare, after the dark ages where the people were crying, Lord how long as they were being persecuted. Much worse suffering than what we had been through, after those long tedious battles with Satan to the last degrees, there comes the climax. Here is the beginning of the final climax.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

 19:12 His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

 19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

 19:14 And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

 19:16 And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.  

Then in this final conflict, He manages the grand finale of destroying the enemy. As this final climax of the warfare takes place, when it’s all done, He steps on the cloud. Notice the gallantry of heaven. All the hosts of those angels coming forth victorious. Here is this gallantry of heaven on white horses with King Jesus doing his final act.  Here is the next scene in this climax. How does it compare?

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Can you imagine the scene? The armies of God who have fought for thousands of years arise in front of you like an army.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Imagine the scene. Take time to appreciate what a glorious impact this is. That is not the end though. If that was all of the ceremony of God’s favourite people entering the cloud, if that was all, it would be worth looking forward to but it’s only the beginning of the glory. I want to take you through the pictures of the grand parade God has chronicled for us that we can anticipate for the future. The scripture picks up the description. Just let your imagination pulsate with these words.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? {1SG 206.2}

Those who a little before would have destroyed God’s faithful children from the earth, had to witness the glory of God which rested upon them. They had seen them glorified. And amid all the terrible scenes they had heard the voices of the saints in joyful strains, saying, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us. The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call, and came forth clothed with glorious immortality, crying, Victory! victory! over death and the grave. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Then the living saints, and the resurrected ones, raised their voices in a long, transporting shout of victory. Those sickly bodies that had gone down into the grave came up in immortal health and vigor. The living saints were changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with the resurrected ones, and together they meet their Lord in the air. O what a glorious meeting. Friends whom death had separated, were united, never more to part. {1SG 207.1}

On either side of the cloudy chariot were wings, and beneath it were living wheels; and as the cloudy chariot rolled upward, the wheels cried, Holy, and the wings, as they moved, cried, Holy, and the retinue of holy angels around the cloud cried, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. And the saints in the cloud cried, Glory, Alleluia. And the chariot rolled upward to the holy city. Before entering the holy city, the saints were arranged in a perfect square, with Jesus in the midst. He was head and shoulders high above the saints, and head and shoulders above the angels. His majestic form, and lovely countenance, could be seen by all in the square. {1SG 208.1}

What a chorus! What a display! Can anything compare with it?

At first we did not see Jesus on the cloud, but as it drew near the earth we could behold His lovely person. This cloud, when it first appeared, was the sign of the Son of man in heaven. The voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints, clothed with glorious immortality. The living saints were changed in a moment and were caught up with them into the cloudy chariot. It looked all over glorious as it rolled upward. On either side of the chariot were wings, and beneath it wheels. And as the chariot rolled upward, the wheels cried, Holy, and the wings, as they moved, cried, Holy, and the retinue of holy angels around the cloud cried, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! And the saints in the cloud cried, Glory! Alleluia! And the chariot rolled upward to the Holy City. Jesus threw open the gates of the golden city and led us in. {EW 35.1}

They travel for seven days on the chariot. That glorious chariot as it were of fire, the gleaming golden flames under the cloud, the wheels, the wings and the living expression of these creatures. The chorus of halleluiah. The victory over all these horrid past experiences.

Before entering the holy city, the saints were arranged in a perfect square, with Jesus in the midst. He was head and shoulders high above the saints, and head and shoulders above the angels. His majestic form, and lovely countenance, could be seen by all in the square. {1SG 208.1}

Is this precision? Is this an army like parade? Absolutely. Just picture the scene. Our King and Saviour around whom the armies of the earth that are faithful are in line, formation and every face is able to see our King Jesus in such powerful and awesome display. That’s not all. The following is 2000 years back when Jesus was raised with a little company. As they arrived in heaven, lift up your heads o ye gates was cried out by the angels on the cloud.

Thousands and thousands of angels escorted Christ in honor to the city of God, singing, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. The angel sentinels at the gate exclaimed, Who is this King of glory? and the escorting angels raised their voices in chorus, The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Again the challenge rings forth, Who is this King of glory? and the escorting angels answer, The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory, and the heavenly train passes through the gates.  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 3}

Can you see the ceremonial manner of God’s methods? The angels were about to bow in adoration. Our Saviour promised that he would come again. Those heavenly gates are again to be lifted up.

The angels of God were about to bow in adoration before him, but Christ waved them back; he must first hear from his Father that his sacrifice for man had been accepted. He had a request to present before the Father: I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am. Although he ascended into heaven to the glory of his Father, our blessed Saviour did not forget us here on the earth. And what was the answer that the Father gave to the Son?–Let all the angels of God worship him. And then they all bowed in adoration before him; they worshiped him, and their song of praise filled the heavenly courts. Honor and praise and majesty were ascribed to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 3}

The glory of coming to those gates is repeated.

Our Saviour promised that he would come again. Those heavenly gates are again to be lifted up, and Christ as conqueror, with a thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, will march out of those gates in triumph, to honor those who have loved him and kept his commandments, and to take them to himself. And he says that he has not forgotten them nor his promise. The Lifegiver will call the dead from their prison-house, and as they come up from the grave, they will receive the finishing touch of immortality. They will rise from their dusty beds and exclaim, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory! And they will be caught up with those who are translated to heaven without seeing death, to meet their Lord in the air. Then the crown of immortal glory will be placed upon each brow. What a wonderful sight are these exalted ones! The world knew them not, but they are the overcomers! Palm branches of victory will be placed in their hands, and again the gates will be opened, and they will enter into the city with Jesus, and all the angels of God will strike their harps, and the heavenly arches will ring with the victory achieved through their God. They will stand before the throne of God, clothed with the white linen which is the righteousness of Christ.  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 4}

Before they went into the city they were arranged in a square around Jesus. God’s children have palms placed around them and palm branches of victory. The display of ceremony is powerful.

Then I saw a very great number of angels bring from the city glorious crowns; a crown for every saint with his name written thereon; and as Jesus called for the crowns, angels presented them to him, and the lovely Jesus, with his own right hand, placed the crowns on the heads of the saints. In the same manner, the angels brought the harps, and Jesus presented them also to the saints. The commanding angels first struck the note, and then every voice was raised in grateful, happy praise, and every hand skillfully swept over the strings of the harp, sending forth melodious music in rich and perfect strains. {1SG 209.1}

Then I saw Jesus lead the redeemed company to the gate of the city. {1SG 209.1}

Do you see the step by step process? Leaving earth with the angels with the cloud, arriving at the gates of the city, more drills and perfection, coming together and being placed around Jesus. That wasn’t all. Then comes the angels with the crowns. Can you imagine the time consuming effect here?

As the ransomed ones are welcomed to the City of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race–the being whom He created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour’s form. As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at His feet, crying: Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up and bids him look once more upon the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled. {GC 647.2}

Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight–the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. {GC 648.1}

He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus and, falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer. {GC 648.1}

Can you imagine the scene? All that the suffering brought about. I was at a wedding not long ago to see my daughter marrying one I approved of and many were brought to tears. Can you imagine this scene?

He touches the golden harp, and the vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song: Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again! The family of Adam take up the strain and cast their crowns at the Saviour’s feet as they bow before Him in adoration. {GC 648.1}

This reunion is witnessed by the angels who wept at the fall of Adam and rejoiced when Jesus, after His resurrection, ascended to heaven, having opened the grave for all who should believe on His name. Now they behold the work of redemption accomplished, and they unite their voices in the song of praise. {GC 648.2}

Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,–so resplendent is it with the glory of God,–are gathered the company that have gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. {GC 648.3}

Now there is another company, the 144,000.

With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, having the harps of God, they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, the voice of harpers harping with their harps. And they sing a new song before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb–a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience–an experience such as no other company have ever had. {GC 648.3}

Oh the glory that we should be among them, the 144,000. The parade song of these people is going to be listened to by the others and the heavenly arches ring. The sea of glass with its glory. Try to capture the scene.  In the world, they have fireworks to display man’s glory. Here there is a fireworks of a different nature.  It then appears that this is the conclusion of this grand display, but no, it’s not the end yet. They go into the city and enter for 1000 years to judge the wicked. After the 1000 years here is another dramatic parade. This sends chills down my spine because now we are going to see the glorious crowning of King Jesus and the display of the armies of the world in comparison. Those of you who watch television, this is more exciting than TV. This is beyond all human thrill, let your imagination drink it in.

Satan succeeds in deceiving them, and all immediately begin to prepare themselves for battle. There are many skillful men in that vast army, and they construct all kinds of implements of war. Then with Satan at their head, the multitude move on. Kings and warriors follow close after Satan, and the multitude follow after in companies. Each company has its leader, and order is observed as they march over the broken surface of the earth to the Holy City. Jesus closes the gates of the city, and this vast army surround it, and place themselves in battle array, expecting a fierce conflict. {SR 419.4}

Here is a grand parade.  Countless billions in perfect order like the armies that have always behaved in the past. Thoroughly drilled marching across the surface of the planet towards the holy city.

Now Christ again appears to the view of His enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around Him are the subjects of His kingdom. The power and majesty of Christ no language can describe, no pen portray. The glory of the Eternal Father is enshrouding His Son. The brightness of His presence fills the city of God and flows out beyond the gates, flooding the whole earth with its radiance. {SR 421.1}

Here are the arrayed billions and billions of thoroughly drilled armies and up there high above they can see the armies of Jesus.

Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. Rev. 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ, which now is theirs. {SR 421.2}

The redeemed raise a song of praise that echoes and re-echoes through the vaults of heaven, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And angel and seraph unite their voices in adoration. As the redeemed have beheld the power and malignity of Satan, they have seen, as never before, that no power but that of Christ could have made them conquerors. In all that shining throng there are none to ascribe salvation to themselves, as if they had prevailed by their own power and goodness. Nothing is said of what they have done or suffered; but the burden of every song, the keynote of every anthem, is, Salvation to our God . . . and unto the Lamb. Rev. 7:10. {SR 422.1}

God can really put on a show and does it thoroughly.

In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven takes place the final coronation of the Son of God. And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government, and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people. Rev. 20:11, 12. {SR 422.2}

Fireworks

Next come the fireworks. They turn their weapons not on the city but on each other. Satan adds his as well in a fireworks that will melt the surface of the earth. Which parade will you be in? Which parade are we going to be part of? In the well drilled well-disciplined parade of Jesus or in the well drilled armies of Satan? Now is the time for us to behold the grand parade to nerve us as we were singing The Blessed Hope. What buoyed the spirits up? Oh this said He the blessed hope. I pray to God every day for me to remain faithful to Him. The shocking display of Satan in my life is to joyfully move on. What I’ve shared with you here is what drives me. To see Jesus face to face in the grand glorious ceremony. The coronation of Jesus in front of all those wicked nations, I want to be there on that sea of glass. What should you and I decide here and now in this final time that we have left? Such little time, we’re nearly home. What should we do?

2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Do you want to please him in that final parade? Then endure hardness. Don’t complain. Don’t say this is too hard for me. Nerve for the battle. Don’t hang your heads. We are going to be glorious at the end if we are faithful now and prepared to go through those hard times rejoicing through it all. We have some hard times but what did Jesus have? It’s only going to get worse, so what. Decide to not entangle myself in the affairs of this world. I will involve myself only in doing what my King, the leader of the army wants me to do. Go through it again and again so you won’t walk out of step with God’s people.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Don’t delve in your thoughts, I don’t want to go on anymore. Obedience to Christ, you’re in the army, you’re going to go through and obey the General. That’s all there is to it.

2 Corinthians 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Now, what is the work which we have to do in probationary time?–To purify our souls in obeying the truth. The law of God is to be exemplified in the character; and in order that man might keep the law, Jesus came down to our world to die man’s sacrifice. He did not, in this, detract from the dignity of the law, but made manifest the immutability of its character..  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 5}

What is the work that we are to do here in the world?–We are to wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We must sanctify ourselves and our households to God. We must bring Jesus into our hearts and our homes, and we must seek every day to instruct others in regard to the claims of the law of God and the plan of salvation, that they may have a knowledge of Jesus. You can neglect anything of a temporal character more safely than you can the spiritual interests of your household.  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 6}

Keep in your imagination the grand and wonderful parade and that which God has laid out for us. Concentrate on being a soldier prepared to endure the hardness so that we can fight the battles of the Lord successfully and victoriously. If you will endure the hardness, the victory is sure. You’re not in a battle that will be defeated. If you are in the other army, you will be defeated but in this army you won’t be. You will come through victorious. When Jesus’ army displays its victory, they will melt away in the fire. When the going is hard, when you have to endure worse and worse, when you have to battle through with the majority forsaking you, keep holding the blessed hope.

Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.

 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

May this be our resolve and our determination to press together to make it happen.

Amen.

Posted on March 25, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I am really getting alot out of these articles. Thanks for sharing. God Bless

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