THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED
Chapters 12 and 13 were pretty rough. We came face to face with evil, with wickedness, with Satan’s violent hatred of Christ whom he tried to devour and of Christ’s church which he pursued into the wilderness. Furthermore, those faithful to Jesus might not be able to buy and sell and provide for their families, they will be put to death. In fact it appears that Christianity and the church might be crushed all together. It sounds tempting to give up the fight and just surrender. But that’s not the last word. As fierce and aggressive as Satan has been, like a prowling and roaring lion, for all that he has only failed. Chapters 14 and 15 give us a different vision, a vision of what happens to those who don’t take the mark of the beast and what happens to the beast and his servants. Remember John is writing to Christians who are struggling in the midst of a hostile and pagan culture. It reminds me of Psalm 73: Psalm 73:2-3 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:12-14, 16-19 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Verses 1-5 encourage the righteous and verses 6-11 warn the wicked, then verses 12-13 encourage the righteous some more.