Thursday, December 8, 2016

Revelation 19:14-21

Revelation 19:14-21
And the army – the one in heaven – was following him upon brilliant horses having dressed themselves in brilliant and clean fine linen.  And a sharp broad sword goes out from out of his mouth in order that he should smite the nations with it.  And he will rule them in a staff made of iron.  And he will tread upon the winepress of the wine of the strong passionate anger of God Almighty.  And he has his name having been written upon the garment and upon his thigh: “King of kings and King of kings.”  And I saw one angel in heaven having set in the sun and he cried out in a great voice while saying to all the birds that fly in midair, “Come!  Gather into the great principal meal of God in order that you all should eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of the strong, the flesh of horses and the ones who are sitting upon them, and the flesh of all the ones who are free and even of the slaves – both the small and the great.  And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies having been gathered to make war with the one who is sitting upon the horse and with his army.  And the beast was seized – and with him the false prophet who did the signs in the presence of him – in whom he led astray the ones who took the mark of the beast and the ones who bow down to worship his image while living.  And the two were thrown into the lake of fire which is burning in sulfur.  And the remaining ones were killed in the broad sword of the one who sits upon the horse, the one that went out of his mouth.  And all the birds were feeding out of their flesh.

Thoughts for Today


First Thought:

The heavenly host is a fascinating image.  One of the main reasons that I find it fascinating is because we never hear of the host actually participating in the fight.  Jesus invites them to come.  They follow Him willingly.  But the opponents of Christ are actually slain by the sword that comes out of the mouth of Christ!  The reason that I think this is a neat point is because I truly believe it reflects Christ’s first coming.  When Christ came to conquer death and sin, He came and invited disciples to follow Him.  But He conquered sin and death by Himself.  The same thing is true here.  When Christ comes to put human rebellion behind Him, He invites His followers to participate.  But He does all the meaningful work Himself.  This is how God works.  He is capable of doing all of the meaningful work Himself, but He welcomes our participation.  He wants us to be included and play our role as His disciples.

How does this passage reveal part of God’s character to us?  How does this passage speak to us about God’s power and how God uses power with respect to His disciples?

Second Thought:

If we look closely at Christ’s image, we do see that this image of Christ is vastly different from the portrayal of Christ than we see in the Gospels.  When Jesus came to conquer sin, He came as a baby and taught human beings to follow God.  His ways were peaceful.  He did not offer up resistance to the humans who desired to harm Him because He knew that God would require a sacrifice to destroy sin and death.  This time, when human rebellion is His foe, Christ comes with a sword and iron scepter.  He comes with the implements of battle.  Before, He came as a baby to save.  Now, He comes as a warrior king to conquer.

What does it say about God in that His methods change based upon the goal and objective?  Which image of Christ do you prefer, the teacher or the warrior-king?  Why?

Third Thought:

The beast and his followers gather in conflict with God.  This is the final product of human rebellion.  Sinfulness, and our focus upon ourselves, leads to rebellion against God.  In the spirit of noticing interesting details in the passage, though, notice that while the beast and his followers are defeated there is no mention of the dragon in this section.  The beast and his rebellion is defeated. The dragon will wait.  It seems likely that the plan of God’s display of dominion will come in three stages.  Truthfully, this isn’t really surprising given that three is a significant number in God’s Word.  First, God conquered the effects of sin and death by having Christ die on the cross.  Second, God will conquer humanity and our rebellion when He returns.  Third, which we will study in the next chapter, God will deal with the dragon.

Are you surprised to see a pattern of three in what appears to be God’s plan to conquer the rebellion of creation?  Why do you think God would tackle this issue in the order that He appears to be doing?


Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 20:1-6
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