Previously, we saw Satan cast out of heaven and thrown to the earth.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
(Revelation 12:9 NASB)
Almost as though it is a response to Satan being thrown down, a declaration is made.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10 NASB)
The logical assumption would be that this declaration is made to and about Jesus Christ. We worked through the scriptures to assign some timing to such an event and it seems that His death and resurrection is a turning point, where God announces Christ’s Son-ship once again. Certainly, Jesus Christ was pronounced to be the Son in power, and, as we saw, He sat down to reign at that point.
“but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,”
(Hebrews 10:12 NASB)
But our assumption about all the power going to Jesus may be incorrect.
Watch what happens next.
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11 NASB)
Suddenly we are redirected to what appears to be the martyred saints; if that is the case, wouldn’t this pertain to ALL saints, throughout all time?
Why ask such a question?
Because Revelation 12:11 says “they” and not a specific audience. If you have been reading through the Revelation with us, then you would know that John saw the martyred saints on two occasions, and both times there are referred to as saints.
Do we have other references to saints that are non-revelation-oriented?
Paul had numerous associating the body of Christ to saints. Romans 1:7; Romans 15:26; 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Cor 6:1; 1 Cor 14:33; Eph 1:1; and in Eph 3:8 where he said, “To me, the very least of all saints.” Since we are focused on the Revelation, it seems necessary to point out that references to saints, in John’s writing, are all referring to people who endure the time of wrath or died because of the word of their testimony.
I point all this out because the word “they” opens the door to others outside of the time of wrath. People have been martyred for their relationship to Jehovah since time began; and, if you don’t believe that look at Cain and Able.
Let’s ask the question before someone else does; does everyone that goes through the tribulation and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ, die?
There is, in my mind, no doubt that some will survive.
Isaiah 1:9 Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.
This idea of survivors is important because it alerted the Jewish disciples that the potential of being completely wiped out was a possibility.
“Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:22 NASB)
Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.
Pay attention to the fact that there are not only survivors among the Jewish people, but among the nations as well. I point this out because there are teachers which say, no one but believers go into the millennial kingdom. Such ignorance is dismaying.
“For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. “I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. (Isaiah 66:18-19 NASB)
If Revelation 12:11 is NOT referring to specifically to tribulation saints, then the alternative would be those, who throughout all record-able time, have stood declaring that there is salvation in Jehovah.
What proof do we have of that?
Hebrews is a great start, for here we see that faith brought approval from God.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2 NASB)
Their numbers, we are told, was as the sands of the seashore, and yet.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
(Hebrews 11:13 NASB)
Although it is hard to understand how they knew it, they were looking forward to the same hope we have, a life with the Father in a world filled with peace. I would like to tell you that their lives here on earth all had happy endings, but they did not.
In speaking of Moses we learn that he chose to endure ill-treatment along with his people.
choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (Hebrews 11:25 NASB)
Some conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, quenched fire, put foreign armies to flight, while others were tortured, not accepting their release.
“who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;”
(Hebrews 11:33-35 NASB)
No, it does not always work out the way we had hoped while we are here on earth. Ah, but then there is Jesus, and all of His promises are true.
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
(Revelation 12:11 NASB)
We have already addressed who this is most likely talking about, so we won’t go into that any further; and, we also touched on this idea of a testimony, but I want to dive into what a testimony looks like.
Religion tries to tell you that salvation and hence your testimony have to go through the “Roman Road.” That means that you would have been led down a scriptural path for the purpose of bringing you to salvation based primarily upon Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. This is a generalization of course, but the process and thinking is deeply inset.
Since I started this study, we have witnessed the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban; and despite anything that our puppet president may have said, these people have declared that they will control Afghanistan under Sharia law. Depending upon how much free time they have, they torture people of any other sect of Islam or Christians, and frequently behead them. I have heard that the Taliban has been checking phones and shooting those who have Bible apps on their phones. There may be moments during this time of God’s wrath that is coming, in which you may not have the opportunity to say much before they kill you. If comes to the point where they are shouting at you, deny Christ and Worship Allah, you may only have a few seconds to shout out a NO!
The Greek word for testimony is marturia and it means evidence given judicially or generally.
Apply this word testimony to the person sitting next to the judge, trying to explain themselves against words spoken about them. If that was not dramatic enough, apply it to the people who are dragged out of their houses at gunpoint and told to worship Allah or we rape your wife in front of you. There is very little about this scenario that is clean or well organized. They don’t care about your Roman road speech, because as soon as you say no they are going to get busy, which will include shooting you.
Try to picture this.
The seven years of God’s wrath has come; almost immediately there will be a staggering increase in violence and death, all this comes with the arrival of the antichrist. The antichrist is the rider on the white horse.
“I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”
(Revelation 6:2-4 NASB)
We cannot tell from scriptures how much time after the rapture of the church until there is a wholesale killing of Christ-followers. Funny that I should say it that way, seeing as the church has been caught away.
Why during this time of chaos, when allegedly there is no Christ followers to lead you, would you have anyone following after Christ?
Scripture tells us that the veil that covers people’s eyes will be lifted and all will be able to see the truth – this does not mean that all will respond to the truth, but those who choose to follow after Christ during this time of horror will not cease to shut their mouths about the Lord.
If you have read your bible then you know the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25.) We can assume that the virgins have lived in a manner that made them welcome at the banquet. (You might equate them to believers.) Five of them filled their lamps with oil and took extra oil, just in case. The others did not check the oil level in the lamps, nor did they bring extra and when it got dark their lamps went out quickly. When those unprepared virgins ran out of oil we see them rudely demanding that the others give to them their oil. That did not happen, and they now had to go out into the neighborhood, knocking on doors, as they hunted for more. When they returned it was too late. The announcement was made, the bridegroom had come, and those who were prepared followed him to the chamber, entered, and the bridegroom closed the door too late entries.
Jesus is coming back for those who are looking for Him.
Galatians 5:5 NASB For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
Assuming that these unprepared virgins were Christ-followers something is missing from the equation, like a good explanation for what the oil represents. I have wondered why faced with the absurdity of going through a dark neighborhood late at night, they did not just follow those who still had light.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Corinth that we were to be awaiting the coming Jesus Christ for His church.
1 Corinthians 1:7 NASB so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Everything was impacted by Adam’s actions and Paul reveals this in his letter to the church in Rome.
Romans 8:19 NASB For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
James, the half-brother of Jesus tells us to be patient as we wait.
James 5:7-8 NASB Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains. (8) You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is near.
One last aspect of Romans 12:11.
“they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
Having been thrown into the fiery furnace, that took the lives of the guards that threw them in, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego now walked back out of that same furnace. The Complete Jewish Bible tells us this.
Daniel 3:28b. CJB …They defied the royal order to the point of being willing to give up their bodies, in order not to serve or worship any god but their own God.
The book of Hebrews, in talking about the fathers of faith, says this.
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (14) For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.”
Hebrews 11:13-14 NASB
Everything within these two verses above cry out with wisdom and understanding.
All these died in faith,
“without receiving the promises,”
They welcomed those same promises that we have, knowing that someday they will be a reality. Since they had no multi-translation bibles to help them understand, how did they know of these promises?
Confessed, and testified, that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Why?
Because it was clear to them that they were seeking a country or “home” of their own.
What does that mean to us?
It means that we are just passing through as we head for our promised land, heaven. I despise the emphasis we make on having mansions in heaven. You know full well that many picture servants and house keepers polishing the fine things that make them feel important here on this broken earth. I have struggled with insecurities my entire life. Do you think I need to hide in some big palace, nursing those same anxiety-driven emotions? I long to be free.
Keep this in mind as you ponder what this country promised us. God has told us that heaven is beyond our wildest imaginations. Having seen movies like Avatar, where the plants spin, emit music, and light up as you touch them, I could go on, but you should be getting the idea. My mind is reaching out there as I think about colorful nebula’s in ever-expanding galaxies, and I am NOT spending eternity sitting in a hot tub, although right now, with this body, that might feel really good.
Hebrews 11:16. NASB But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Some, it tells us, did NOT receive the promises.
What do we believe God has promised us?
In reality it is life with the Father in Heaven, to define that if I could, would require another six-page diatribe and we are not going to do that, aside from life with the Father in Heaven, it is your daily bread – sustenance. To prove my point Jesus asked
The Faith movement tries to tell you, you deserve a Rolls Royce. Dr. Fred Price got his, and then he died. I wonder who has it now. With the Father, your things won’t matter.
One last comment and I call it quits.
Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, addressed the crowd recently, when he asked, how many of you long for normal to return?
You could hear a number of people say yes, I shouted out NO! The reason I said no is that I no longer wish to play, and I want Jesus to return for His bride, the church.
Pastor Jack said, if you answered yes, then perhaps your heart is still far too attached to the things of this earth, and all of them are in opposition to God’s plan and purposes.
If I was willing to simply go back to normal, in my mind, I feel as though I would be saying that I am comfortable with this lousy world, the bullies, and the poison the world has to offer. There is no peace here on earth, in fact, the level of violence is already on the increase. No, I am done here.
Do I sound like I am defeated?
First off, you need to know that I don’t care what you think. I am getting older and the things I used to laugh at, like arthritis are now my constant companions. The problem with arthritis is that it has tempered that warrior spirit in me. In other words, I am not so willing to swing the broad ax anymore, and that is a good thing but I am finally learning that I am not in control.
I am not asking for prayer, although prayer is always welcome, but it is a change of focus. My heart yearns for the return of Jesus and I long to hear His voice constantly. Remember what we saw in Hebrews how faith should be the center of focus.