Overcome: The Hope of the Christian in the Revelation of the Lamb
November 11, 2015
It Will Be Finished
I. The Echo and the End
Revelation’s visions have been tumbling forward, bursting out of the initial throne-room vision of God the Father and the slain bug sovereign Son in chapters 4-5. We then read through the culmination of history, the judgment of God, and the victory of God’s people described in a series of visions in chapters 6-11:
– Chapter six displayed the completion of God’s judgment in seven seals of wrath.
– Chapter seven portrayed the complete people of God, the new Israel, the church sealed and secured for and by God.
– Chapters eight and nine thundered the building judgment of God in seven trumpets of wrath.
– Chapters ten and eleven unveiled the built temple of God, the faithful witnesses, the church persecuted but glorified by God over all its enemies.
Then, the story took a turn as we continued to see that same story from the vantage point of the grand-cosmic war between the forces of Satan and the people purchased by the Lamb of God.
– In chapter 12 we gazed into the heart of the long spiritual war between God and Satan (the dragon) that has spilled over into all creation.
– In chapter 13 we were introduced Satan’s beastly lieutenants that are unleashed to seize creation for the dragon.
– In chapter 14 we witnessed the Lamb and his army arrayed for battle and the six angelic messengers warning of God’s impending judgment and the promise of God’s glorious gospel.
Now as we walk through these next visions we find ourselves moving into the closing hours of history. Indeed, the final chapters of Revelation (15-21) most fully comprise the culmination and conclusion of time as we know it and the ushering in of eternity in God’s new creation. The end times began long ago on a rocky crag outside Jerusalem as a crucified king cried out, “It is finished!” That word of victory has been echoing throughout all of space and time, and we finally catch up to that echo as we reach the concluding scenes of Revelation. At the cross salvation was definitely accomplished and Satan’s demise was absolutely determined. Jesus’ words said so, and now we find the salvation of God’s people and the destruction of Satan’s rebellion reaching its ultimate end. That’s what the rest of Revelation is all about.
II. The View From the Edge
As we enter Revelation 15, then, we find that we are on the very edge of the end of all things. The final countdown to God’s climactic defeat of Satan is at hand. That is both a glad and grave truth: God will not allow evil to endure forever. He will most certainly bring history to a fitting conclusion, triumphing over all his enemies. As we stand on the edge of that endgame, we’re given a vision of what that final triumph will involve:
1. When all is finished, God’s people will be assembled together in the presence of God, victorious forever (vv. 1-2).
2. When all is finished, God’s praises will be sung loudly, vibrating throughout all of eternity (vv. 3-4).
3. When all is finished, God’s purposes will be completed by his holiness being vindicated and his enemies being vanquished (vv. 5-8).