Of Winners and Losers
Guess what. Politics isn’t the only realm preoccupied with winners and losers. So is Scripture. As it turns out, on this morning after the midterm elections across the nation, my summer journey through the Apocalypse ended. Looking back now I must admit, Revelation really is all about winners and losers!
Here’s a short list of them compiled just this morning:
• God wins. The triumph of the Lamb of God on Calvary (repeated and reiterated throughout this revealing) is the crimson heart of the divine forever triumph. Over and over again the strong assurance that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet” (Maltbie Babcock) vibrates through the book, and crescendos in the mighty Hallelujah chorus of Revelation 19: “Hallelujah! For the Lord God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory” (19:6-7). No wonder the angelic throngs shouted their praise to Christ our Savior at His inauguration: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (5:12). God wins!
• Satan loses. Hands down, big time the “biggest loser” in the Apocalypse is our constant arch nemesis and foe: “. . . but he was defeated . . . the great dragon . . . that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (12:8-9). Loser! But let’s not taunt him yet. For the divine Voice warns us: “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath [“filled with fury” NIV], because he knows that his time is short!” (12:12). Nevertheless make no mistake about it, the ending to this brutal cosmic war, “the great controversy,” is unequivocal: “. . . and the devil who had deceived them [and us] was thrown into the lake of fire” (20:10). All the heartache, pain, suffering and death he has inflicted upon us one day will be avenged (6:9-11). Satan loses!
• The seven-headed sea beast, the two-horned earth beast, the seven-headed scarlet beast, the prostitute who rides the scarlet beast, and Babylon lose. I.e., the satanic trinity’s reign of terror just before the collapse of history will be crushed by the returning Christ—defeated, obliterated forever and ever. As the Apocalypse loudly pronounces: “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (17:14). And who are these who conquer with the Lamb?
• The Bride wins. The wildly glad tidings that peal through Revelation is that the Bride of Christ—and in this book the church of Jesus is distinguished through a series of monikers: the servants of Jesus Christ (1:1), those who overcome (chapters 2-3), the 144,000 (7:1-8), the innumerable “great multitude” of the saved (7:9-10), the remnant of the woman’s offspring (12:17), the saints (13:10), those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (14:12), “those who had conquered the beast and its image” (15:2), the “called and chosen and faithful” (17:14), “My people” (18:4), the Bride of the Lamb (19:7), the priests and kings of God (1:6, 5:10, 20:6), and the New Jerusalem (21:9-10)—at long last the Bride of Christ wins! And to “roar of many waters and the sound of mighty peals of thunder”, the Bride—the people of God robed in “fine linen, bright and pure” (19:8)—takes her place at the marriage supper table of the Lamb (19:6-9). She wins because He won!
I plan to be there—how about you? Too preposterous, too prideful an ambition and prayer? Not at all. Never forget this Book of winners and losers ends with the divine secret to winning: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (22:20-21).
The Bible’s last words: Lord Jesus . . . grace . . . Amen. You win!