Friends of the Groom

Today’s reading is Revelation 11.

Every hero has friends. Remember Fezzik and Inigo in “The Princess Bride”? In modern weddings, we carry on this idea with the best man and the groomsmen. These are the men who were supposed to support the groom and fight off any who would challenge the groom for his bride. Our Hero, the groom of the church is no different. He has two friends, the descriptions of whom remind us of Moses and Elijah. Then we see the same story cycle repeated over and over in Revelation. At first, these friends are unstoppable. If any would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes the enemy. However, the seemingly unstoppable get stopped; the beast makes war on them and kills them. The people celebrate the death of the Hero’s friends. It looks like the Hero is going to lose. However, then the unimaginable happens. Just when the enemy believes it has won, the Hero’s friends are resurrected (just like the Hero) and are called to the Father’s throne. Judgment rains down on the enemies. God is glorified. Praise the Lord, Jesus always wins!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 12.

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Today’s reading is Revelation 9.

What is up with locusts and wild horses? There is no need to look beyond what the text says to figure out what John is seeing. In Revelation 9:18, John calls these strange events plagues. In other words, we don’t have to wonder if he is talking about some strange war that might happen off in the future. Rather, he is calling to mind something that happened in the past. He is calling to mind, as he will do several times throughout this vision, the plagues that God sent against Pharaoh and Egypt. The description here is much more intense. It is grander and greater and more destructive. But it is still supposed to remind us of those plagues. Why? Because the outcome is the same. No matter what God sends to teach the enemies about His greatness and how they should surrender to Him, they won’t. They don’t repent. They continue to rebel against Him instead of surrendering to Him as King. In other words, the King went out conquering and to conquer, but instead of the enemies recognizing His superiority and surrendering, they will keep fighting. God will extend patience. Instead of just immediately wiping them out, He will send only partial judgment intended to give many the opportunity to repent and give allegiance to Him. But they won’t. Of course, this means many faithful will get caught up in the crossfire. Remember, however, the Lord knows those who are His. Even if His faithful die as the enemy reacts, they will still be delivered. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 10.

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Judgments and Plagues

Today’s reading is Revelation 16.

This may sound shocking, but Revelation is not looking ahead to literal plagues that will be coming, it is looking back to literal plagues that had happened generations ago. That is, do you notice how these plagues mirror several of the plagues surrounding the Exodus: boils, water turned to blood, hail, darkness, waters dried up (like the Red Sea). Then there are flashes of lightning, rumbling, peals of thunder, shaking earth like the Isrealites saw at Mt. Sinai. Granted, God can do what He wants. If He wants to send literal plagues like this again, He can. However, that is not really the point. The point is to tell the Christians under Roman persecution (or perhaps Jewish) and then by extension Christians under any other persecution afterwards that God knows how to judge nations, false religions, and enemies who oppress and persecute His people. Not only does He know how, He will. It may seem like the enemies are getting the upper hand, just as Israel once thought Egypt had the upper hand, but God always wins. And there is a message for the churches in this as well. Remember how many of the members of the seven churches were called to repent? These members and churches must not think they will miss out on the judgment if they don’t heed the call to repent any more than the worldly in this chapter. Don’t quit! Conquer! Hang on to Jesus, He always wins.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 17.

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