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LOSING, BUT WINNING

January 3, 2017

Text: Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.”Revelation 19:11-14

Yesterday I was watching a rerun of an episode of “Gunsmoke” on TV. The main chief subject of this script was an 0ld desert rat named Harvey Easter who had spent 10 years looking for gold in Colorado and finally struck it rich. When he reaches Dodge he is a misfit from the past. So we hear hear him complain to Marshal Dillon, “I have been in the Rocky Mountains for ten years. Now that I’ve come out, all I see is bad.”  Immediately I observed that Harvey and I were “in sync” with one another; during my lifetime things have changed to unthinkable depths of degradation. Never in my first 50 years of life  would I have imagined that things we see and hear daily would so dominate our present lives: social, governmental, amusements, educational, and in the media.

Perhaps, for me, it was our national election in 2016 that ripped off my blinders and revealed Satan’s agenda is being fantastically successful in gathering souls and tyrannizing our world. A choking fog has settled over  our country as well as our world and the sound is screaming: “Doom!” “destruction!” “catastrophe!”, “over-population!”. “famine”.   And many in the millennial churches are like Chicken Littles screaming, “The Antichrist is coming soon. The sky is falling.”  Even some Christians are shaking and wailing. They are thinking that Satan is grabbing control of God’s creation and they will soon be suffering. 

WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD YOUR HORSES! Don’t surrender to Satan yet! The Book of Revelation is a declaration of encouragment and hope for the followers of Jesus even though the future may look bleak. After you understand what this great prophecy says you will be hopeful and faithful.  

Let’s turn to chapter five where John has been given access to see events happening in heaven’s throne-room. An angel announces the appearance of a kingly Lion that can open the seals of a divinely written scroll, but instead a lamb slaughtered for sacrifice arises and opens the scrolls. John’s misconstruction turns to joyous acceptance when he hears the hosts of heaven sing of the Lamb: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:12b-14 That is to say, the slaughtered Lamb (Jesus) conquered and presently rules.

If we are irresolute, frightened, and faithless WE WILL LOSE ONE OF THE GREAT ESSENTIALS OF JESUS’ GREAT SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS: HOPE! Without hope we become Satan’s captives in the “slough of despond” (ala John Bunyan) and that is a difficult place to escape.  Jesus is the author of our hope. Paul’s resilience and faith are enormous. Faced by the intractable persecution of his fellow countrymen at home and abroad, and all of the  crushing opposition of the Gentiles  he daily resisted in the cities and in the backwaters, he proves to be indomitable  to the end. O Israel, hope in the Lord!  For with the Lord there is steadfast love,  and with him is plentiful redemption.” Psalm 130:7 

Here’s a Biblical fact: SATAN HAS ALREADY BEEN DEFEATED! Let’s take a look at a passage that has often been misunderstood. The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Luke 10:17-18  In Luke 10 Jesus chooses 72 disciples for a “training exercise”. He sent them to preach in the countryside, even extending to them miraculous powers.  “Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Luke 10:9  When they return they are elated for their success.  (Luke 10:17)  Jesus relates to them that his conquest over the Devil has begun and will certainly succeed.  And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Luke: 10:18  Though some think that this verse bears testimony that the Devil (Satan) was evicted from heaven. He sees that the success of the 72 is an early signal that his death on the cross would be recognized as a beginning point of his struggle with Satan.

Let’s return to Revelation 19From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” Revelation 19:15-18  

-There are three comforting statements in this passage. Message The one on the white horse (Jesus) annihilates the  disobedient citizens of the world with a rod of iron. Message: JESUS RULES OVER HIS REBELLIOUS OPPONENTS! The Lamb that was slain  (Jesus) will sit on the throne of heaven reigning  with his Father forever. Message: We (saints) will celebrate joyously the righteous justice with the Father and Son at their invitation to the supper of God.

Trust God with all your hearts to care for you as His sheep. Always remember that God promises us his providence and protection. We belong to the Redeemer and King!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

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2 Comments
  1. Suzanne Burch permalink

    Wow. That is powerful encouragement. I agree with the gloom and doom observations of what this world throws at us. I try to ignore. But thanks for a great reminder that God will carry his children through the bad, and is waiting for us.

  2. Larry Shelley permalink

    Yes! We have to have spiritual eyes to see through all the fog of the present. Well written!–LS

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