12/25/14 “The Great Victory” (Daily Bible Reading: Revelation 16-19)

“These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14).

Do you ever struggle with getting discouraged because as you look at the world and the direction it is going, it seems like Satan is winning and God is losing? During such times, victory for those who follow Christ can seem so far away. Sometimes our Christian walk feels like we’re in a football game down 99-0 with only 2 minutes left. At times, victory can feel so impossible to achieve.

It must be remembered that the book of Revelation is highly symbolic in nature (Revelation 1:1). It is filled with symbolic language by which God “signified” the things which would shortly take place and how these things would affect His people. There are many symbols describing the spiritual warfare that is taking place on the one side between God and His people, and on the other side Satan and those who are under his influence (cf. Revelation 13:3-4, 12-17).

Often, Satan’s side appears to be winning. The beast, representing kingdoms under the influence of Satan, is even described temporarily overcoming the saints (Revelation 13:7-8). The great harlot, representing the great city (i.e. Rome) that ruled over the kings of the earth at that time, is described as being “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:7, 18). Without a doubt there are times where it appears that Satan is winning and God is losing!

Throughout the book of Revelation there is the cry of God’s people wanting victory and wanting to be avenged. The saints which had been slain for the word of God and the testimony to which they held cried out saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10). Even the 24 elders and the angels in heaven cry out longing for victory when God comes to execute justice upon the wicked and to avenge His faithful followers (Revelation 11:16-18; 16:5-6). It is certainly appropriate for Christians to desire victory!

The book of Revelation describes God avenging His followers by first of all bringing judgment upon the wicked. This is described in part by the breaking of the seven seals of the scroll (Revelation 6:1-8:1), the sounding of the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:2-11:19), and the pouring of out of the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 16:1-21). Then, as the opening passage above describes, Jesus leads His followers to victory as He makes war against the harlot and the beast which are under the influence of Satan (Revelation 17:1-18; 13:1-2). The beast and the false prophet are captured and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20) where Satan will be cast as well (Revelation 20:2, 10). Following this we have the scene of the Judgment Day as the dead stand before God and are judged by the Word of God (Revelation 20:11-15). Victory is coming for God’s people!

We are engaged in a great spiritual battle (cf. 2 Timothy 2:3-4). It is important for us to be properly equipped (Ephesians 6:10-20). I acknowledge that it can be discouraging to keep my morale up as it often appears that Satan and his allies are winning in this great warfare. To keep my morale up, I need to remember that God has assured me victory will happen. Paul wrote, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58). Today, I rejoice that in Christ I have victory!

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).