This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at www.dtbm.org
MONDAY: Victory in Jesus
Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
We have victory in Jesus because God is faithful. Think about this for a moment: What makes the earth so important that God and Satan are both so interested in this planet? The answer is simple: God has staked His very name on a person—Jesus Christ; on an event—the cross of Calvary; and on a people—the Jews. God has said that His name is incarnated in Jesus Christ; His power is revealed through the cross; and His plan is centered on the Jews. Those converge on this planet because the center of redemptive history surrounds the earth.
Two lines run through the history of mankind in every event, and they conclude in the culmination of history. To understand the conflict of the ages we need to look at the beginning of Genesis where we are introduced to the two combatants: the line of Christ and the line of Antichrist—the line of the woman’s Seed and that of the serpent. In Genesis 3:15 God declared to Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your [the serpent’s] seed and her Seed [Jesus Christ]; he [Jesus] shall bruise [crush] your head, and you [Satan] shall bruise His [Jesus’] heel” (Genesis 3:15).
Satan bruised Christ’s heel on the cross, but Jesus crushed the serpent’s head. The writer of Hebrews says: … Through death He … destroy[ed] him who had the power of death, that is, the devil … (Hebrews 2:14). Satan is destroyed—Jesus crushed the serpent!
The serpent’s seed has constantly been against the woman. What is meant by that? The whole Bible can be put into perspective with these two statements: (1) The line of Christ begins with Adam, passes via Golgotha, and leads to the heavenly Jerusalem; and (2) The line of Antichrist begins with Cain, passes via Babel, and leads to the lake of fire. There are only two families—God’s and Satan’s; two destinies—heaven and hell; and two choices—repent or reject. You either belong to one family or the other. You choose your own eternal destiny.
Two programs are at work in the world: God’s program of salvation and Satan’s program of sin, which is called “the mystery of iniquity” in the Bible. God has a timetable for His program, and nothing Satan does can change that timetable. Just as there was a “fullness of the time” for the coming of Christ (Galatians 4:4), so there is a “fullness of the time” for the appearance of the Antichrist. Nothing will be off schedule. Once the restraining ministry of the Spirit of God has ended, the next event can take place.
These chapters are easier to understand when you look at them up close and then step back in order to see the entire picture. We will start with Revelation 11:19 because the victory of Jesus is based on God’s faithfulness.
Although there is a temple in heaven, there won’t be one in eternity because God himself will be the temple (Revelation 21). There is a pattern that is a picture of earthly worship in heavenly places. Moses modeled the tabernacle and Solomon modeled the temple after it. The ark of the covenant will be seen in heaven because God wants us to realize how important it is. What is so important about the ark? And why is the temple opened so that through John we can see that it is there? The ark is a symbol of God’s abiding presence and promises. Do you remember its contents?
The Two Stone Tablets of the Law: On two stone tablets, with His own finger, God wrote the law that He wanted man to follow—the law declaring that our God is unceasingly holy in the demands of His character. Since the law is so important to God, it should also be important to us. Not that we fulfill it to become righteous, but that the law causes us to realize that God is holy. This is why the law is a schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. Through the law, we realize that we are unable to be as holy as God is, or wants us to be. When we are defeated by sin, we fall before Him and cry out: “We can’t be holy!” Then God responds: “You can have the righteousness of My Son, Jesus Christ. You can receive the imputed, infused righteousness of Christ.”
Aaron’s Rod That Budded: This rod reminds us that only God gives eternal life through His Son, for Jesus said… ”I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). In contrast, Satan only gives death and destruction. Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The Pot of Manna: This pot was kept as a picture of Jesus Christ who came as the Bread of Life. On earth, this manna turned to worms if it was kept more than a day, except on the Sabbath weekend. The lesson for us is that we need to gather the Bread of Life daily by reading the Bible. Christ is the only One who can satisfy the hunger of our souls. Just as the manna was good if it was ingested, so Christ is transforming to our lives if we personally receive Him. No one can eat or drink for us. Salvation is compared to the bread and water of life because we have to personally partake to have our hunger and thirst satisfied.
When God describes the heavenly pattern, it starts at the ark of His covenant and moves outward. Similarly, the Lord starts in the hearts of those who respond to Him and then He begins the miracle of changing them from the inside out. Salvation is truly of God, and not by self-effort: “… Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).
The tragic error of modern ecumenical evangelism is its reluctance to define who God really is in an effort to not offend other religions and cults. It offends God, though, and ecumenicalism is Satan’s church: “… There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Remembering what God revealed about himself by what He called His ark will help us to understand Revelation 12:
• Ark of the Covenant (Numbers 10:33): This name spoke of God’s faithfulness. He makes covenants and does not break them.
• Ark of the Testimony (Exodus 25:22): This name spoke of God’s holiness. Because we are lost, God sent His Son to show us “the Way” of safety. In the Old Testament, the pictures of the sacrifices testified of Jesus; in the New Testament “the Way” was shown through the receiving of the finished work of Christ.
• Ark of God (1 Samuel 3:3): This name spoke of God’s uniqueness; there is no other God, nor any other way to Him but His way.
The ark also spoke of God’s mightiness because it was the ark of God’s strength, which associated it with God’s power and miracles (Psalm 132:8). In addition, the ark spoke of God’s approachableness: it was the holy ark where God’s throne was set, placed in the center of the camp (except for the period of Israel’s sinfulness), with lights never to go out—it was God offering His salvation to all (2 Chronicles 35:3).
Every time we are transported into the throne room, there is a powerful display of God’s majesty and omnipotence, and Revelation 11:19 with its “lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail” is no exception. We also see similar displays of His awesomeness in Revelation 4:5, 8:5, and 16:18. These demonstrations of God’s might are to remind us of what an incredible God we serve! Are you worshiping and adoring the Lord God Almighty as He deserves?
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