by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 September 27, 2015 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(021)Thesis:The revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven is one of inescapable retribution to those who had rejected the knowledge of God and the promise of the Gospel.
Introduction:In our last study, we considered the coming of Jesus from heaven as a "revelation" that addressed the opposite themes of the love driving redemption (Jesus, the Redeemer) and the justice driving an absolute dominion over the unjust (the Lord, Sovereign over all creation). As we now look a bit further into what this "revelation" is about, we shall see that it is deliberately inescapable.
I. The Issues of Inescapability.
A. The attitudes and actions of those to whom this revelation is most fundamentally addressed.
1. They "have not known God".
a. The verbal idea behind this translation is most fundamentally "seeing".
b. But the negation indicates that what the eyes "told" those who "looked" was completely rejected by them so that the information never had its most rational impact upon their thinking.
c. This is not a rare notion in the dealings of men with God as Jesus clearly declared in Matthew 13:15 and Mark 8:18.
d. Thus, the inevitable consequence is retribution from the rejected Creator Whose creation lays the foundation for eyes to see and understand (Romans 1:20).
2. They "continually refuse to submit" to the Gospel.
a. The movement from the perfect tense to the present indicates an emphatic reality that is on-going.
b. The basic idea of the verb is "to hear and to place oneself under the authority of the things heard".
c. The negation indicates a willful determination to ignore what the ears are telling them.
d. This is clearly under the basic New Testament teaching regarding "faith" (it is not an awareness of "truth", it is a cessation of rebellion against it).
e. Thus, both eyes and ears have been stymied in their creation-intent to give their possessors the ability to rationally relate to their Creator so that there is no escape from what happens as a retributive consequence.
B. The presence of "His mighty angels".
1. On the face of it, the most obvious question is, "What need does an omnipotent God need with an innumerable host of 'mighty angels'?"
a. The answer is: He has no direct need of them; but He does have an indirect need of them.
b. The fact is that He has created a host of informationally deficient rebels whom He made only able to "receive information" through their senses and only able to understand the import of information through their ability to reason.
1) Thus, the appearance of an innumerable host of "mighty angels" has one most fundamental impact even upon rebellious men who cannot think straight: inescapability.
2) Men who refuse to use their eyes to see and their ears to hear and their brains to think often think that they can live as they please and escape the consequences of their actions in a cause-and-effect universe created by a God of Justice: the sudden appearance of "mighty angels" will, at the very least, erase that delusion.
2. According to the Scriptures, only a third of those created as angels entered into rebellion against God with Lucifer; that leaves God with two thirds, plus personal omnipotence.
C. The issue of "flaming fire".
1. The first of these issues is the fact that Hebrews 1:7 declares that the "mighty angels" are "flames of fire".
a. This most likely means that their primary function as "ministers" is to enforce righteous behavior (just as Romans 13:1-6 says of human governmental leaders).
b. The "fire" issue is, then, an insertion of the consideration of potent destruction of that which opposes what is right.
2. The second of these issues is the fact that the Revelation (John's written record) says three times that it is the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ that are "flames of fire".
a. The most informative of these three references is Revelation 2:18 in its context, a most significant element of which is the Self-description of 2:23 -- "I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works".
b. The point is this: The Lord Jesus Christ sees everything with absolute clarity and understanding.
c. The conclusion, then, is this: there will be no escape from what is both true and right and there can be no justification for even an attempt to preserve what is both untrue and unrighteous.
D. The final fact: He distributes "vengeance"; i.e., He dishes out just exactly what is due by reason of deeds done.