There are as many different theories and viewpoints about the Book of the Revelation as there are hairs on the horses’ tails in chapter six or the number of heads and feet on the Beast which arises in chapter 13. These theories all diverge from one another in a multitude of ways which convince us that they cannot all be true and most of them are mere speculations of men arising from a desire to conform their interpretations to fit their theories.
Now we are certain that there is much incontrovertible prophecy found in its pages and that this book contains concepts which are vital to an understanding of the Kingdom of GOD. Yet we are also convinced that very few (if any) have plumbed its depths and accurately depicted the truth which is set forth, in every jot and tittle. It behooves those who would seek to study it and comment upon it, to recognize their own limitations and natural inability to grasp the secret nature of much that is set forth therein.
Each time I read through it, I am caused to place my hand over my mouth and to confess my ignorance of the ways of the MOST HIGH, as Job did. I find myself in the position of Daniel and John who fell before the feet of the LORD as dead men. “Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” (Dan 10:8)
I have many more questions than I have answers. Much more that I am puzzled about than those things which I understand. Yet I am adamantly sure that the theme of this book is the utter and absolute triumph of CHRIST over all of HIS enemies. I believe that it does depict the supreme and everlasting nature of HIS Mediatorial Kingdom (see Isa. 9:6,7) and the unfolding of the eternal fruits of HIS redemptive work in the Earth. As such it must ever serve to encourage the sons of GOD who tremble at the mention of HIS NAME and desire to see HIM face to face.
I know nothing of the times and seasons (either past, present, or future) which may or may not be prophesied in its pages. Neither do I claim to have a complete understanding of the significance of the seals or the implications of the trumpets which are depicted therein, let alone the identities of all of the various characters spoken of. But I do declare the glory of the ONE who has ordered all of these events and actors, to fulfill the exact purpose which HE has ordained. This Book is the Revelation of JESUS CHRIST. HE is the SUBJECT of its pages and its PROPHET who speaks forth that which is true and unchanging. HE is the REDEEMER of Zion, and HE unfolds the glory of that redemption throughout its pages.
So we do not wish to establish a timeline or to chart the various events which are described in the book but we do desire to honor HIM who is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our FAITH. That ONE who has destroyed HIS enemies who would dare to lift up their heels against HIM. For all who would accuse HIS people or plot their hurt are HIS enemies and HIS own arm has brought HIM the victory as HE has made HIS garments red with their blood as well as HIS own.
We read here of that one who is called the “accuser of our brethren”. The scripture identifies him (in verse 9) as Satan. Surely the LORD has triumphed over him even as HE foretold him, that the SEED of the woman would bruise his head. (see Gen.3:15) Satan’s end, as sure as his beginning, was ordained of GOD in order to fulfill HIS eternal purpose. He is but a pawn in the hand of HIM who determined the end from the beginning in order to magnify the glory of HIS grace in the redemption of that people which HE loved with an everlasting love.
While Satan is surely identified as the “accuser of our brethren”, he is not the only one who would dare to bring accusations against the sons of GOD. But just as surely as the LORD has destroyed HIS power to condemn or accuse so too does HE to all who would dare to speak against those who are hidden in CHRIST and for whom HE has obtained eternal redemption. The other accusers over which our LORD has triumphed are:
The Law. The “Law of the LORD is perfect”. It is Holy, Just, and Good; yet it has no power to deliver the sons of GOD from the sin which doth so easily beset them. All that it can do for a sinner is to uncover and reveal his sin and to breathe out condemnation upon those who transgress its precepts. Paul clearly describes the purpose and power of the Law: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom 7:7-11)
The Law can never bring comfort to the sons of GOD, except as they view it as having been completely satisfied in its jot and tittle by HIM who came, not to destroy it, but to fulfill it. “For the wages of sin is death; (as prescribed by the law) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23) The Law has no power therefore to accuse the sons of GOD for they are forever justified in the courts of heaven by the very Law which condemns the world. As the hymnwriter of old has said, “Free from the law, oh happy condition, JESUS hath died, and there is remission.”
The World. By this we mean the “cosmos” or “world order”, CHRIST is HE “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” (Gal 1:4) The “world” is in total rebellion against the LORD and HIS people. Thus the sons of GOD are exhorted to: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1John 2:15-16) The world would constantly lay its charms before the sons of GOD, seeking to overcome them and ensnare them as we see illustrated in “Vanity Fair” in Bunyan’s classic, “PILGRIM”S PROGRESS”.
Yet this present evil world cannot destroy those for whom CHRIST has obtained eternal redemption. Though its passion against the LORD and HIS anointed is yet undimmed, it is as that lion which roars but is without teeth and is bound in everlasting chains of destruction. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The Flesh. The avenue through which the “world” and Satan, seeks to gain their mastery, is this corruptible flesh in which the sons of GOD presently dwell. Satan surely delights in attacking them in this flesh, often reminding them of their vulnerability, he is even yet the father of lies and cannot be believed. Yet, even when Satan is not directly seeking to oppress and criticize the sons of GOD, this sinful flesh does ever war against the SPIRIT of GOD in them. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17) So this flesh is a formidable foe.
We see an illustration of Satan’s devices as he tempted the LORD JESUS. He came to HIM when HE was in a weakened state in HIS flesh. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” (Mat 4:2) It was then that he brought his most insidious insinuations, twice questioning the SONSHIP of CHRIST, saying “If thou be the SON of GOD” (Mat. 4:3;6) So too would our flesh war against the work of the SPIRIT in us. How often are the sons of the most high made to tremble in fear and doubt as this evil accuser, says, “if you were a true son of GOD you wouldn’t do thus or so; you would be faithful, you would be obedient, etc if it were true.” Away damned liar. Get back. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1) HE is our RIGHTEOUSNESS and SANCTIFICATION. We rest not in what we feel or see in ourselves but rather in what HE has accomplished in our behalf.mam