“It has come at last.”
Candle Lighter: “Rejoice, O heavens!...”
Response: “…and you who live in the heavens, rejoice!”
Scripture: Revelation 12:10-12
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.”
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
This portion of today’s larger reading (chapters 12 and 13) is filled with involved symbolism requiring considerable commentary to be fair. In the setting, Christian believers are under severe persecution from Nero and Domitian, who followed Nero. The first nine verses of chapter twelve describe the war between the devil, whose wishes are carried out by Nero et al, and God’s people. In verse thirteen and following, the battle between God’s people and the evil of Satan’s hosts continues. The section we have pulled out for today’s reading is an aside of encouragement for followers of Christ.
The source of the affirming voice is from heaven. God is always aware of the situation of his people and provides words of hope and perspective. Seeing life (and death) from God’s vantage point is essential. In the words from heaven, “It has come at last―”. What is the “it?” Salvation, power, and the Kingdom of God and the authority of Christ. The devil, the accuser of us all, has been thrown down to earth. The devil has been defeated. In effect, God has said, “Enough!” As sovereign, God always has the last word. In that we rejoice! It is interesting that in verse eleven, John writes “they have defeated him (devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. Think of it. Because believers have appropriated the blood of Jesus to cover them and by their witness to that effect, the devil is beaten, his power destroyed. A key factor in all of this is the followers of Jesus are not afraid of death because they see it from God’s perspective. They are untouchable by Satan. The devil is enraged in his permanent defeat and endeavors to create as much chaos on earth as possible in his limited time before he is cast into hell for all eternity. Your job and mine is to remain faithful in fulfilling our days on this earth. And God has given us the Holy Spirit to do just that!
Music: “Gloria in excelsis Deo” The English Concert Trevor Pinnock
O Omnipresent One, beneath whose all-seeing eye our mortal lives are passed, grant that in all my deeds and purposes today I may behave with true courtesy and honor. Let me be just and true in all my dealings. Let no mean or low thought have a moment’s place in my mind. Let my motives be transparent to all. Let my word by my bond. Let me take no unchivalrous advantage of anybody. Let me be generous in my judgment of others. Let me be disinterested in my opinions. Let me be loyal to my friends and magnanimous to my opponents. Let me face adversity with courage. Let me not ask or expect too much for myself. O Thou whose love to man was proven in the passion and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, let the power of His cross be with me today. Let me love as He loved. Let my obedience be unto death. In leaning upon His cross, let me not refuse my own; yet in bearing mine, let me bear it by the strength of His.
― John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, p.49
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