When God shows up, miracles happen. It makes me wonder why we don’t call on God’s presence more. I just witnessed a beautiful wedding. Our son married the girl of his dreams, but more than that the girl he has been praying for. For years! God’s victory was won today for both the bride and groom. They had been praying for a miracle – to find the “one”, and God chose for them.
What miracle are you praying for? Interestingly, our text doesn’t say that Joshua prayed for God’s approval of their protection of Gibeonites in this situation. (That may just mean the reference didn’t make the book!) Yet, God showed up! Joshua was starting to believe that God was not going to let them fail.
Jesus says, “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” We see the sixth beatitude as another beautiful promise but there is some urgency. Have you heard of FOMO? That’s the fear of missing out. It’s commonly used in marketing to let you know something is coming to an end (like a sale) so you better hurry or you’ll get left behind. That’s a bit of what I feel is happening here. Jesus doesn’t want us to wait to obey, he wants us to do it now! None of us know what “soon” means.
We’ve been reading through the book of Revelation and it concludes with this passage. Whether it’s your first time through or your hundredth, the message is still the same. Follow Jesus, be encouraged in your faith, and trust he is coming soon. Revelation is prophecy, and we explored what that meant at the very beginning. Prophecy can have to do with the future, but it is not the same as a “prediction.” The intention is to always point us toward God, not away from him. As you look back at what you’ve read, I am confident you can see the prophetic nature of this book. It is drawing us back to God, strengthening our desire to be in relationship with our Savior King.
That’s quite a headline! Satan’s Defeat! Hallelujah! Amen! We can all rejoice and be glad. But there are some challenging parts to today’s reading we should not overlook. First of all, Satan is set free from his 1000 year captivity (or however long this represents). There was no prison reform for Satan. In fact, if I were to guess, he came out stronger, angrier, and craftier than ever.
After all of that, we have these words of comfort. “Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Such a fate, it couldn’t have happened to a “nicer” bunch! Forever banished. It makes you wonder why there was the 1000-year imprisonment in the first place. Again, time and space is not literal. God had his reasons.
Jesus comes forth today not as the Lamb, as he has been portrayed up to now, but as a warrior. But not a warrior in the sense of the word as we would imagine. What images come to your mind when you think of a warrior going to battle? Jesus is not covered in armor. There are not tanks or weapons, fighter jets, or any such military might standing by. Jesus is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, with crowns adorning his head. His only “weapon” was the sword coming from his mouth.
He is clearly identified to us in terms we associate with Jesus. “Faithful and True,” the “Word of God,” “King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” We are bombarded with visions, each beginning with John’s words, “I saw.” By now, we know John isn’t describing real events or occurrences but helping us understand using symbols of real occurrences. The victory is sure, but we don’t necessarily need to be expecting a white horse and rider!
I was expecting the final trumpet to bring about something horrible. Weren’t you? Instead, there is rejoicing in heaven. God’s kingdom has fully come! We read, “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The Book of Revelation could end right here. Since it doesn’t we know there is more to come. What happens next?
The victory has been won! Will we see how the people on earth respond? Will those “of the world” finally repent? Will the faithful be rescued at last?