Summary: Revelation has confronted us with images that might make us feel evil has the upper hand - but Satan is on a leash.
You can listen to this message in full here:-
“The Overthrow of Satan in This Broken World”.
Today we are going to focus on Revelation 19:1-20:10. We are going to break it up into three sections – some of these sections are easy to understand – and one … well; not so easy.
It is pretty easy to see that this section is a hymn of praise in heaven.
A great multitude is singing the praises of God because he has brought destruction to Babylon the prostitute.
No longer will Babylon be able to cause pain and suffering for God’s people.
No longer will we be tempted and tested and distracted and torn away.
No longer will all that is evil in this world have the ability to stand against all that is good.
God’s justice has been delivered. And we say Hallelujah!!
Which sounds a little bit callous doesn’t it?
In the recent Syrian uprising there have been images of rebel fighters dancing around the bodies of dead Syrian Army officers. Some of these soldiers have been shot after being captured. It is meant to be a result of justice. These rebel fighters celebrate with great intensity that a small step of freedom has been achieved.
On the one hand we understand. On the other hand it seems cruel and callous.
These dead soldiers had families – wives, children, people who loved them. People who are now grieving.
That is what happens isn’t it – but that is not the right time to say “Hallelujah”.
Hallelujah is not a cry of revenge. Hallelujah is a cry of relief.
Since the time of Adam our world has been under a curse – the curse of sin.
Why do wars happen?
Why do natural disasters happen?
Why do people die?
Why did my marriage fail?
Why was I abused?
Why is my health failing?
Why am I afraid?
Why do I doubt?
Why am I full of guilt?
Everyone has a WHY. Think about your own why for a moment.
It’s hard isn’t it? Living in a world cursed by sin.
Now imagine if the curse was gone. That all your WHY’s no longer exist. Can you picture it? It seems impossible. It seems out of reach. But if … when … sin’s curse is gone. What would you say?
One day Babylon will be gone – the prostitute who is the temptress. We won’t be celebrating the death and destruction. We won’t be dancing on graves. We will take a deep breath and thank the Lord that the WHY is no over because sin’s curse is gone.
That is what these verses are about. Let’s keep reading.
Who is the rider on the white horse?
Called Faithful and True.
Eyes of fire.
A robe dipped in blood.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Who is the rider … that’s easy isn’t it. Jesus.
Now what is he doing?
He is leading an army of people dressed in fine white linen.
He is going against an army lead by the beast.
He defeats the beast and the false prophet, both who end up in the fiery lake of burn sulphur.
Those who follow the beast are also defeated and brought to ruin.
When you put it all together it is reasonably simple isn’t it.
This is all about the day when Jesus returns. Sometimes it is called the Parousia.
Parousia means “personal presence”. So The Parousia is when the personal presence of Jesus happens. It is a day of destruction and judgement and punishment. Those who stand against Jesus, the rider of the white horse, will lose. That is what this section is about.
It is a theme that we have already seen a number of times in Revelation. So let’s move on to the next section.
Ok. So this is the section which is not so easy. Because there are two very different views among believers as to how this passage should be interpreted. I should make the point that all of these people are bible-believing Christians who will all end up in heaven together.
You cannot say, “I don’t believe Jesus died and rose from the dead” and also rightly say, “I am a Christian”.
But, if you have one view about the end times, and I have another view, well we are still brothers and sisters in Christ.
As we talk about the differences of view we need to keep that perspective in mind.
So what is the big question? What is the point where there is such a difference?
When, in history, does what is written in chapter 20 occur?
There are many Christians, among whom there are people who have doctorates in theology and biblical studies, who believe that chapter 20 chronologically follows chapter 19. In other words when Jesus comes back is he will say on earth for 1000 years and rule, with the help of those who had not worshipped the beast, on earth.