To Die in the Lord is to Conquer

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:1-4.

Don’t forget. The beast is given power to kill us. And why does he kill us? Because we will not worship him. We are faithful to God, even at the cost of our lives. That is what it is to conquer: to love not life, even to the death.

The kingdom of God is totally upside down from the fallen world. To be great, you become a servant of all. To live, you must die. It is a mistake to look for worldly vindication or victory. That will lead to eternal separation and death.

In Jesus’s days on the earth, people hoped He was a conquering Messiah who would bring temporal victory. Once it was plain He was on the way down, the called for His crucifixion. They didn’t understand that His death would bring ultimate victory.

144,000 Male Virgins?

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. Revelation 14:1-5.

There is much speculation on who these people are. Are they a symbolic gathering that represents all mankind, all who are saved? Are they literally 144,000 male Virgins? Even though I am disqualified from this group, it amuses me that this would offend our feminized, emasculated Western society. Or that all those basement-dwelling millennial gamers have a shot at being in this number.

Although this whole chapter is filled with mystery, some things are made plain. Sexual immorality is definitely an offense to God. And even normal sexual relations can compromise your devotion to God.

But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:33 ESV

The Mark of the Beast

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. Revelation 13:11-17.

Satan is not satisfied with mere control of an unwilling population. He wants to be worshiped as god. And since most Americans have forsaken the one true God for material things, Satan can acquire the status of a god by controlling our access to material things. And that will take a global government that puts up with no dissent.

There will come a time when the most godless secularist and the most religious poser will worship an image side by side in order to stay in business or keep on shopping. And those of us who would rather die than deny our Lord will be reviled as the most maniacal extremists who are only getting what we deserve. But until then, all you have to do is reject sexual immorality and be called a hater.

The Woman and the Dragon

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Revelation 12:13-17.

I don’t spend much time trying to figure out if the woman is Eve, the Virgin Mary, the New Jerusalem or the church. Some things will come to light as we are given light, which may happen when times get darker.

I always look for what I can do. The only thing that is Crystal clear is that I am to obey God’s commands and hold to the testimony of Jesus. What is also clear is that the devil is real and he’s my enemy.

The Two Witnesses

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit[a] will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:1-13.

You are in a pretty bad place when you reach the fire-breathing prophets stage. In the old testament, it was during Israel’s darkest days that the most spectacular displays of power took place. I’m thinking of Moses and the plagues of Egypt and the parting if the Red Sea. And Elijah calling down fire, followed by killing the 400 prophets of Baal.

Today we not only allow the murder of the unborn children; it is celebrated. We have parades for sexually perversion. We cultivate race hatred for political gain. We confuse our children about sexual identity and no one seems to know the truth about anything. It should terrify us all that we have not yet reached the bottom.