The Lamb and the 144,000
Mighty Lord, today I ask for a fresh infilling of Your Spirit, and a renewed experience of Your love and forgiveness.
Read REVELATION 14:1-20
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.
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing” (Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is our God). How is God a “bulwark” for you?
If you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ve probably already attended a Christmas pageant or two. You probably didn’t see a dragon…yet the dragon is a major character as John retells the Christmas story in ch. 12. What a story! The dragon attacks the baby, then his mother, then all of those who have chosen to follow the (grown-up) baby. He enlists the help of a sea-beast and a land-beast (13). John’s audience would spot them as the leviathan and behemoth of Job 40, 41, but all three are still frustrated.
The Church is given three resources or weapons to combat this unholy trinity (14). In vs. 1-5, the Church is given the gift of worship as the Lord lifts her attention heavenward and reminds her that God is relaxed in the midst of warfare. He is still God! In vs. 6-13, an angelic preaching team directs the Church’s attention earthward. She is given a “gospel” message (6), of light in the midst of darkness, of harmony in the midst of noise, and of life for those who respond. Despite present persecution and suffering, everything done in the Lord’s name will one day be rewarded (13). In vs. 14-20, the Church is given the certainty of a coming final judgment. For those who are being unjustly persecuted and condemned, it is wonderful to know that at the right time God will judge evil oppressors.
What power does the Church have to withstand the violence and propaganda of hostile countries or groups today? A few songs, with harp accompaniment, a handful of gospel messages, and the gift of “patient endurance” (12) as the world’s evil increasingly gets closer to judgment? It really doesn’t seem like much, but it will be.
Read John 5:24 and consider how, as a Christian, you can face the thought of judgment to come. How do you face it?
Lord Jesus, help me to commit myself afresh to healthy worship, heartfelt sharing of the Gospel and faithful endurance until You come or call me home.
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