WORSHIP SONG SIX
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 12:10-12
John’s first century readers were well accustomed to the word “conquered”. Roman legions conquered wherever they went. North into Gaul, Germania Magna, even into Britannia, they conquered. South into Africa, east into Mesopotamia, and west into Spain they marched, conquering. Triumphal arches heralding their conquests were built throughout the empire. These were monuments to great military victories, to new colonies added. Go today to such cities as Rome, Athens, Verona and Reims and you can see ancient triumphal arches celebrating Rome’s famed conquerors.
Yet, from heaven’s vantage point the real conquerors are the little Lamb and those who follow Him: “for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.”
Today’s Scripture reveals the two ways in which “our comrades” have conquered. Both ways involve death, a seemingly incomprehensible way to be a conqueror. First, the Lamb’s followers conquer “by the blood of the Lamb”. As Jesus breathed his last words he cried out, “It is finished!” With this cry of victory the Lamb declared His purpose for coming to earth fulfilled! Mission accomplished! The apparent end of the itinerant preacher from Galilee fulfills God’s redemptive purpose for the world and cosmos.
The second way the Lamb’s followers conquer is: “by the word of their testimony…” We could translate this more literally, “they conquered on account of their testimony.” To the point, the Greek word translated “testimony” (martus) originated our word “martyr”. For early Christians a faithful testimony to the Lamb often led to their death. For today’s Christians it is the same in many parts of the world.
Because Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross, this kind of faithful testimony will not go unrewarded. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus declared as especially ‘blessed’ these faithful followers:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
Earlier in The Revelation Jesus promises a “victor’s crown” to those who are faithful unto death: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Whatever we might sacrifice in this life for Jesus’ sake, whether it is time, career, money, popularity, or life itself, will be eternally rewarded at the throne of God.
As John is writing on the Island of Patmos, the thought of persecution and suffering is never far from his readers. But it is through suffering and death that Jesus conquered: He promises to share His victory with all who do not “cling to life even in the face of death.”
Jim Elliot was a bright, talented 28 year-old man who was martyred in Ecuador as he sought to bear testimony to Jesus among the Huaorani people. While Jim was still in college he understood what it meant to be a conqueror, writing in his journal: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” (Elizabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty) Through the blood of the Lamb and his faithful testimony Jim conquered. “For us this is not necessarily a matter of dying for the faith but of setting loyalty to Jesus Christ before the comfortable way.” (William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible)
READ ALOUD Revelation 12:10-12
HOW TO USE THIS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
This daily Lenten devotional takes up eight songs of worship from The Revelation. It is significant that this is the only book in the Bible promising a blessing on those who read it, specifically: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy” (Revelation 1:3 NRSV). Each section of this devotional presents a song for your audible reading, reflection and worship. Each day you will:
- PRAY asking God to bless this time you devote to Him
- READ ALOUD the worship song and text for the day
- REFLECT on the daily reading
- READ ALOUD again the worship song and text for the day
- WORSHIP God each day in a way that is meaningful for you. The way in which you worship might vary day to day. Depending on the day, you might choose to talk with God about what you are thinking and feeling about the song, or meditate on the worship song, or intercede for others, or sing, or be silent before God. Ask God to guide you.
We pray that God use these worship songs of The Revelation to reveal His glory to you and bless you as you center your life in Him.