Militant & Triumphant
Holy God, I need a certain word for my uncertain world. I wait for You to speak to me from Your Word.
Read REVELATION 7:1-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God is above, presiding; beneath, sustaining; within, filling” (Hildebert, circa 1050-1150).
Just when you are expecting the climax, the opening of the seventh seal, it doesn’t happen. Instead “seal” is used in a different sense—as a mark of ownership on God’s people. John is given assurance about the fate of the Church through all of these events. God has marked them out, and they are his. Numbers in Revelation have to be understood symbolically. “Twelve” symbolizes both Israel (tribes) and the Church (disciples), while “144,000” speaks of their completeness. God’s people will come through in the end, however battered they may be. The Church is called to fight and struggle with spiritual weapons while on earth, as what is sometimes called the Church militant.
John heard the number, but what he saw was a cosmopolitan, cross-cultural, diverse gathering. This is the inspiration for world mission. Their journey into the presence of God has not been easy. Though they have been protected, they have not been pampered. They have known the tough experiences of life that all face. On top of that, they have suffered for their faith, sometimes to the point of death. Such a journey has not been without its pitfalls. They, too, would have a catalog of fears and failures to confess. They have taken wrong turnings and stumbled on the way, but God has never failed them. He has cleansed them from their failures, healed them from their hurts, and recommissioned them for his service. The days of struggle lie behind them, and the journey’s end has justified the hardships. The Church will be triumphant. We all need something to look forward to, and someone in whom to put our trust. The vision given to John energizes and inspires. It refreshes our hope. When you see the finishing line, new energy comes into tired bodies. There is an end and it is assured. Keep on keeping on.
Try to include some Christians from other cultures among your friends, and learn from their experience of the God you both serve.
Mighty God, I want to take a further step toward You. I ask, in the midst of uncertainty, for the assurance that nothing can ever separate me from Your love.
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